Woman Who Smoked Through Hole in Throat Dies

Thursday, 28 Feb 2013 02:41 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A woman who smoked a cigarette through a hole in her throat to illustrate her struggle with nicotine addiction in a California public service advertisement has died of cancer, health officials and her family said Wednesday.

Debi Austin died Feb. 22 at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, according to family friend and spokesman Jim Walker. She was 62.

Austin first appeared on television in 1996, telling viewers she began smoking at age 13 and could never quit. In a quiet, halting rasp, Austin told the camera, "They say nicotine isn't addictive," before inhaling from a lit cigarette held to a hole in her throat.

"How can they say that?" Austin asked viewers, as cigarette smoke wafted from the hole.

Called a stoma, the hole in her throat allowed her to breathe after her larynx was removed at age 42.

The TV spot was "the most-recognized and talked about California tobacco control ad," according to the state health department.

"Debi was a pioneer in the fight against tobacco and showed tremendous courage by sharing her story to educate Californians on the dangers of smoking," said Dr. Ron Chapman, who heads the health department. "She was an inspiration for Californians to quit smoking and also influenced countless others not to start."

Four months after the ad, Austin quit smoking - halting a two- to three-pack-a-day habit. She fought various forms of cancer for the rest of her life. She starred in other ads and spent the rest of her life advocating against the use of tobacco.

"True to Debi's spirit, she was a fighter to the end and leaves a big hole in our hearts and lives. Debi will be remembered fondly by those who love her to be caring, courageous, very funny and always there to offer advice or lend a hand," the family's statement said.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

9 in 10 Adults Eat Everything on Their Plate

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 16:34 PM

Unlike children, the vast majority of adults finish all of the food they put on their plate at mealtime, according to a  . . .

Sleeping in Total Darkness Boosts Breast Cancer Therapy: Study

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 16:26 PM

Tulane University researchers have found dim light at night can compromise the effectiveness of the breast cancer drug t . . .

Best Time of Day for Testosterone Test

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 16:21 PM

Timing is important when it comes to testing testosterone levels, according to new research that finds levels of the hor . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved