Terrie Hall, the woman who lent her face and voice to a series of sobering anti-smoking ads, died of cancer Monday. She was 53.
(L-R) Brandon, Terrie and Roosevelt, featured in the “Tips From Former Smokers” ad campaign, told Connie F. Smith (far right), DPH Health Communications Specialist, how they quit smoking at a 2012 conference.
Hall was one of the former smokers featured in the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her death came one week after CDC reported the results of its Tips media campaign; according to a study of the 2012 campaign, the agency found that more than 100,000 Americans quit smoking for good, while 1.6 million made an attempt to quit after viewing the Tips ads.
Georgia also felt the impact of the ads featuring Hall. In August 2012, the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line reported a 400-percent increase in its call volume after the launch of the campaign.
CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., told the Associated Press that Hall was a “public health hero.” Tim McAfee, M.D., director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, sent the following letter celebrating Hall’s life and her contributions to America’s health:
“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, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, CDC's Office on Smoking and Health”