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Linda Thomas

Local man is in shocking anti-smoking ad

WAA man's breathing is so tortured from emphysema it takes him more than a minute to speak a word.

Another is paralyzed from a stroke.

Others have had limbs amputated, lungs removed, and heart attacks.

Many can only talk with an artificial device because they've had tracheotomies.

The federal government is trying to shock 50,000 people into quitting smoking with a graphic ad campaign that features a man from Washington state.

One of the print ads features 51-year-old Shawn Wright, who had a tracheotomy after being diagnosed with head and neck cancer four years ago.

The ad shows him shaving, his razor moving down toward a red gaping hole at the base of his neck that he uses to speak and breathe. He's also in the TV ad below talking about how difficult it is to deal with a hole in his throat.

Will this $54 million campaign be alarming enough to get people to quit? On the other side, the government estimates tobacco companies spend $100 billion each year on marketing and promotion of their products.

The adult smoking rate hasn't dropped since 2003. About 20 percent of adults smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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About Linda
Linda is the morning news anchor and features reporter for KIRO Radio. This is her local news blog, with an emphasis on social media, technology, Northwest companies, education, parenting, and anything else that grabs her attention.

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