JOHN DAY – The Grant County Health Department is urging local residents to heed “Tips from Former Smokers” – a new national campaign to help people stop smoking.

The educational campaign tells the stories of people like Terrie, a competitive cheerleader who took up smoking to be like her friends. At age 40, she was diagnosed with oral cancer and throat cancer, and finally quit smoking after doctors told her they would need to remove her larynx.

Her story and photo pop up today on websites and in ads, as part of the Centers for Disease Control’s campaign.

While Terrie is from another state, Sheila Comer, tobacco prevention and education program coordinator, says the stories should hit home with Oregonians and Grant County residents.

Comer offers these sobering facts, taking from Public Health Division reports:

• Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke contribute to 25 percent of the deaths in Grant County, and 433,000 deaths a year across the nation.

• Tobacco use is a major cause of early disabilities, and makes serious health conditions such as diabetes much worse. In Grant County, an estimated 430 people suffer from serious illness caused by smoking.

According to the CDC, for every person who dies from smoking, another 20 suffer serious illness caused by tobacco – such as COPD and asthma.

The Tips campaign should be a wakeup call for people who smoke or use tobacco products but think tobacco-related disease won’t affect them or their loved ones, Comer said.

The campaign urges people to talk to their doctors or call the quit line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help.

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