The Unsweetened Truth About Smoking

NOTE: This is a guest post from Legacy, the national public health foundation behind the truth campaign.

Christine is hungry all the time, but she hasn’t had a real meal in more than three years. After three bouts with oral cancer caused by smoking, Christine lost her jaw.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are killed by tobacco-related diseases, but an estimated 8.6 million more people in the United States live with serious illnesses attributed to smoking. Like Christine, their lives are irrevocably changed. Thousands of Americans struggle with the basic activities we take for granted every day. For Christine, cancer meant losing her job, her house and even having to give up her dogs.

Legacy and its national youth smoking prevention program, truth®, have developed a new campaign called “Unsweetened Truth” to share with teens what it’s really like to live with tobacco-caused diseases.

Legacy explained in a statement: “‘Unsweetened truth‘ seeks to highlight how living with tobacco-related diseases is not just about dying; having such diseases is also about living with the effects of cancers of the mouth, throat and neck, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and loss of voice. Moreover, anyone who uses tobacco has the potential to develop such diseases.

‘For the featured participants in “Unsweetened truth,” their lives have been changed irrevocably by tobacco use,’ said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr.PH., president and CEO of Legacy, the national public health foundation that funds the truth campaign. ‘While the consequences of tobacco-related disease can sometimes be obvious in their physical form, the suffering associated with tobacco use goes deeper than that. For some, tobacco use has meant lost jobs or lost employment prospects. For some, everyday activities like eating and enjoying food, being physically active or spending quality time with friends and family is an ongoing challenge.’”

Meet Christine, and listen to her describe what her life is like after oral cancer.

Photo courtesy of Legacy


.1 months ago

Well, it’s a nice one, I have been looking for. Thanks for sharing such informative stuff.

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Veselin Varbanov
Veselin Varbanov3 years ago

Yes no guarantee you want get it if you don't smoke but why you increase your chancer intentionally ,sound ignorant to me ..! Be well to the woman in the video!

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thank you for posting.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Emily, for Sharing this!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Emily, for Sharing this!

Lynn D.
Lynn D.3 years ago

Really sad and yet at the same time, smoking is and was a personal choice ... so,.........maybe one needs to look at oneself first! Thanks for post!

bb E.
bb E.5 years ago

I thank this woman for sharing this. I look like her and have had stage 4 base of tongue cancer. You can laugh about these things and pass it off as well people who don't smoke get cancer, you can ignore the warnings. That is your choice, but when you are in your 40s or older and your quality of life is terrible, it will be too late. STOP SMOKING NOW WHILE YOU CAN. You could be the one on a video next time.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

I hope this could help young teens stop smoking or trying to start because it's cool.

Beth Weatherbee
Beth Weatherbee5 years ago

Christine, you are amazing!!! You are using your situation to help other people!! Thank you for sharing!! Bless you!!!

Christina J.
Christina J.5 years ago

What I'm wondering is why people who drink alcohol hardly ever get complained about? I know one or two glasses of wine etc is good for you but 2 40's or more of malt liquor isn't. Drinking causes depression, I've witnessed it cause serious negative personality changes, it reeks havoc on your body, people can get affected by your drunken obnoxiousness, your decision making is impaired, and it can definitely kill. I know if I'm driving down the road smoking alone in my car chances are I'm not going to cause anyone immediate bodily injury. Can the same be said about drinking and driving? I suppose now it is more socially acceptable than cigarettes. I know my grandfather was never a smoker and at the age of 81 he got lung cancer. Two of his siblings got other types of cancer also. I think some people are predisposed is all.