A week after speaking at a press conference about the dangers of smoking, Terrie Hall of North Carolina has died of cancer.
Hall, 53, was part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) “Tips from a Former Smoker” campaign, in which former tobacco users shared their stories about the debilitating side effects of smoking.
For Hall, smoking two packs a day left her with numerous throat and oral cancer diagnoses, beginning at age 40. She eventually had an artificial voice box implanted in her throat. She died Monday at a hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
She appeared in the CDC’s ‘Tips’ campaign to tell other smokers: “If you’re a smoker, make a video of yourself before all this happens. Read a children’s storybook or sing a lullaby. I wish I had. The only voice my grandsons have ever heard is this voice,” she said.
The 'Tips' ads began running in 2012, and as a result, an estimated 1.6 million American smokers attempted to quit, 200,000 quit smoking immediately, and 100,000 smokers quit for good. By the CDC’s estimates, the campaign added a third of a million years of life to the U.S. population.
Speaking with reporters last week, Hall said, “When the 'Tips from Former Smokers' campaign first started, I said if we can get just one person to quit smoking, or just one person to never start, that would be a success. I never imagined it would reach so many people and change so many lives."
"It has been the most rewarding experience of my life," she added. "Meeting people who have quit smoking because of the campaign is always a special feeling.”
While Hall’s death is a reminder of the disastrous health effects of smoking, Hall was a champion of the anti-tobacco cause, and her legacy survives.
“I want to remind everybody who can’t quit—keep trying,” she said. “Don’t give up.”