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Published on Dec 22, 2010
Debi Austin started smoking at age 13. By the time she was in college, she smoked three packs a day. Debi was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx at age 42. She underwent successful surgery to remove the tumor, but unfortunately her vocal cords were removed as well. Debi had to learn to speak again. Four years after her surgery, while participating in a Laryngectomee's support group, Debi was approached by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to film an anti-tobacco ad. Debi initially declined, but was eventually motivated to accept because of her desire that her 4-year old niece not follow in her footsteps. Four months after filming the ad and before it aired publically, Debi quit smoking for good. Debi passed away in February 2013 after courageously battling multiple tobacco-related cancers for over 20 years.
The California Tobacco Control Program is part of the California Department of Public Health.