We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Terrie Hall – a true American hero. Terrie appeared in ads run by CDC for the Tips From Former Smokers media campaign, which encouraged several million smokers to try to quit. Terrie died on September 16th from the effects of the cancer caused by the cigarette smoking she began in high school. Treating her cancer required multiple surgeries over the years, including the loss of her voice box, leaving a hole in her throat. This summer the cancer spread to her brain, and despite radiation and surgery, the cancer spread further.
Terrie wanted to save people from having to go through the sickness and surgeries she endured. She decided to let smokers and young people see her disfigurement and know what caused it, so that they would stop smoking – or better still, never start. She spoke at schools and before other small groups. But the Tips from Former Smokers campaign gave Terrie her biggest platform. More than a hundred million Americans saw her ads on television, the Internet, in magazines, on billboards and at bus stops — and many of them decided to try to quit smoking. Strangers came up to her in drugstores and hugged her to thank her for inspiring them to quit. By her willingness to show and tell people what cigarette smoking had done to her, Terrie saved thousands of American lives.
Our heartfelt condolences go to Terrie’s family and friends, along with our promise that her legacy lives on, inspiring us toward the goal of rapidly ending the death and suffering caused by smoking in America.
Tim McAfee, MD, MPH
Director, CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health