Dana watched her mother struggle for years as she battled throat and oral cancer after decades of smoking.
"Everything she experienced ... I was right there experiencing it with her," Dana said of her mother, Terrie.
And yet, Dana found it difficult to quit smoking herself. Like her mom, Dana also started smoking as a young teen.
As her health deteriorated,Terrie appeared in powerful commercials as part of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign, trying to convince others not to smoke.
"I realized that even though she was doing these commercials ... and reaching millions of people, I think the one person that she was trying to reach was me," Dana said.
But it wasn't until Terrie died at age 53 that Dana finally found the strength to give up the habit.
To quit, Dana reached out to her doctor for help and began taking medicine.
"When ... I wanted a cigarette, I watched my mom’s ad. That was all the motivation I needed," Dana said.
Giving up smoking at any age has benefits:
- After just 20 minutes, your heart rate drops.
- A year later, your added risk of heart disease is cut in half.
- Two to five years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
Help and support are available. Visit CDC.gov/tips or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help.