Former Smoker in Anti-Smoking Ads Dies of Cancer

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Cancer has claimed the life of a former smoker who had a prominent role in a U.S. government anti-smoking campaign that featured graphic ads.

Terrie Hall, 53, died at a hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Monday, the Associated Press reported.

Hall was diagnosed with oral and throat cancer and had her voice box removed years ago. The cancer, which spread to her brain this summer, was caused by the cigarette smoking she began in high school, according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials.

"She was a public health hero," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, which conducted the campaign, the AP reported. "She may well have saved more lives than most doctors do."

Hall had a leading role in the "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign, which focused on how smoking-related cancer ravages the body. In her first ad, Hall was shown putting on a wig, inserting false teeth and using a scarf to cover a hole in her throat. It was the campaign's most popular ad and received more than 2.8 million views on YouTube, the AP reported.

Another ad featured Hall speaking with her artificial voice box and advising smokers to make a video of themselves singing or reading out loud. "I wish I had. The only voice my grandson's ever heard is this one," Hall said in the ad.

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