Debi Austin, who gained fame for starring in an anti-smoking commercial in which she smoked a cigarette through a hole in her throat, died of cancer on Friday, Feb. 22, The Associated Press reports. She was 62.
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In Austin's public service announcement, which began airing in California in 1996, she said she had begun smoking at age 13 and had never been able to quit. Designed to illustrate the addictiveness of nicotine, the ad featured Austin inhaling smoke from a lit cigarette through a hole in her throat. The hole, called a stoma, allowed Austin to breathe after she had her larynx removed at age 42, the AP reports.
Though Austin quit smoking four months after filming the ad, she subsequently battled various forms of cancer, but remained an anti-smoking advocate for the rest of her life.