Sad Stories From People Who Have Been Hurt by Smoking

Ex-Smokers Share Their Personal Stories

Smoking-related diseases are snatching our beloved family members and friends away from us at an alarming rate. According to the World Health Organization, 6 million adults around the world die from tobacco-related causes every year. And by 2030, experts caution we'll lose 8 million lives annually if we don't reduce our consumption. With numbers like that, there aren't many of us who don't know someone, be it family member or friend who has been hurt by tobacco.

As smokers, we are masters of glossing over the scary statistics that follow smoking. But the reality is that if we don't find a way to quit, it will probably force us to someday in a way that is final, because smoking kills half of all long term smokers. Those are not good odds.

While some of the smoking stories in this collection are sad and difficult to read, they are stark reminders of what comes with the "pleasure" of smoking

Thanks to all who have shared their very personal and often painful stories here with us in the effort to help save lives...your lives, dear readers.


Small Cell Lung Cancer - Cheryl's Story, Part One

Alberto Pomares/E+/Getty Images

Cheryl was diagnosed with stage IV small cell lung cancer in November of 2003. As devastating as this was, she managed to step outside of her own pain in order to share her very personal story with all of us here.


Heart Disease - Walt's Story

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and the leading cause of death caused by smoking. Cigarette smoke cause plaques to form in the arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis, otherwise known as hardening of the arteries.


Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - Dee's Story

At 49 young years of age, Dee was diagnosed with stage 1B non-small cell lung cancer. In her own words, she thought of herself as fit and invincible, but her story is proof that the smoking-related diseases are indiscriminate. 


Graves Disease - Ronnie's Story

Our Smoking Cessation forum member Ronnie developed Graves disease and learned that smokers suffer 4 times the risk of the disease as that of non-smokers.


Oral Cancer - Marlene's Story

Oral cancer is a disease that most smokers fear. Marlene shares her remarkable story of losing her voice and regaining it with the mission to teach school kids about the dangers of smoking.


Emphysema - Christine's Story

Christine Rowley was the Smoking Cessation Guide at from 1997-2003. She helped more people quit smoking than we could ever begin to count. Christine lived with emphysema, and shares her story here.


Degenerative Disc Disease - Michelle's Story

Ex-smoker Michelle Boisvert suffers from degenerative disc disease (DDD). Diagnosed at the age of 33, she has since learned that cigarette smoking is a leading risk factor for DDD. While she may never know for sure if smoking was responsible for this health issue, it is very possible it was.


Stroke - Paul's Story

Paul had been smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for approximately 30 years when at the young age of 43, he suffered a stroke that rendered him helpless for a number of months.


COPD - Jacki's Story

Ex-Smoker Catherine shared her friend Jacki's quit story because she was unable to share it herself due to the smoking-related disease she suffers from.

Quit Smoking Now

If you're still smoking, use these stories to help you find the motivation to get started with smoking cessation. Pick a quit date and start researching about what to expect when you stop smoking. Don't let junkie thinking convince you to put the date off - that is nicotine addiction talking. Hold firm and don't look back. You won't regret it.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Elmasry S, Asfour S, de Rivero Vaccari JP, Travascio F. Effects of tobacco smoking on the degeneration of the intervertebral disc: a finite element studyPLoS One. 2015;10(8):e0136137. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0136137