Tobacco took away Terrie Hall's natural ability to speak. But it could not stop her from being heard around the world with a powerful message about the deadly consequences of smoking.
All of us at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are deeply saddened by the death of Ms. Hall, who was the unforgettable face and voice of the federal government's first-ever national media campaign aimed at reducing smoking. Ms. Hall died yesterday after a long battle with cancer.
Ms. Hall started smoking as a teenage cheerleader and was smoking up to two packs a day when, in 2001, she was diagnosed with oral cancer and throat cancer at age 40. She had her larynx removed and had to speak with the aid of an artificial voice box. Her voice and story were featured in the Tips from Former Smokers ad campaign launched in 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and again in a second round of ads this year.
Even as she battled cancer, Ms. Hall courageously and unflinchingly told her story to the nation and the world. She worked tirelessly to prevent kids from starting to smoke and encourage smokers to quit, first in her home state of North Carolina and then around the nation.
Because of Ms. Hall and the other former smokers in the Tips campaign, more than 1.6 million smokers tried to quit in the first year of the campaign and at least 100,000 succeeded in doing so, according to the CDC. Terrie Hall is a heroine who saved lives.