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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Selenium Found to Boost Cancer Treatment

Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 16:50 PM

Selenium - naturally found in such foods as garlic and- may help in the fight against certain types of cancer, a new stu . . .

Football Players Suffer Brain Damage From Even Mild Impacts: Study

Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 16:43 PM

Researchers using new, enhanced imaging can now identify brain damage that occurs in professional football players follo . . .

Healthy Gut Bacteria Prevent Metabolic Syndrome: Study

Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 16:35 PM

Promoting healthy gut bacteria, also known as "microbiota," can help treat or prevent metabolic syndrome, a new study f . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

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