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