Barb Tarbox

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Barb Tarbox
Barb Tarbox.png
Barb Tarbox on a Canadian cigarette box.
Born(1961-04-10)April 10, 1961
DiedMay 18, 2003(2003-05-18) (aged 42)

Barb Tarbox, MSM (April 10, 1961 – May 18, 2003) was one of the most well-known anti-smoking activists in Canada; a lifelong smoker dying of brain and lung cancers whose very open and frank discussions of her illness, its cause and its consequences, propelled her to the Canadian national stage.

In high school, between the ages of 14 and 16, she was a model for fashion companies and joined many sports in her school. She wanted to be popular, and being a model was not enough; so she then became a smoker[citation needed]. During the last months of Tarbox's life she went around Canada teaching young adults the consequences of smoking.[1] Perhaps most memorably, she emphasized how she was unable to quit smoking even after she found out that she had cancer.[2]

Tarbox died at a hospital in Edmonton on May 18, 2003 at the age of 42 from brain cancer and lung cancer.[1]

On December 5, 2003, Barb Tarbox was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal[3] by Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, for devotion to the anti-smoking cause. The decoration was accepted in Ottawa by her daughter, Mackenzie.

On December 30, 2010, the Government of Canada unveiled tougher anti-smoking images on their cigarette packaging including two images that feature Barb Tarbox during her last days.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Anti-smoking crusader Barb Tarbox dead at 42". Toronto Star. 2003-06-20. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  2. ^ "Raging to the end; An intimate look at a dying woman's anti-smoking crusade She influenced thousands but secretly smoked to the last". Toronto Star. 2005-01-02. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  3. ^ "Biographies: Born 1961-1977". Calgary Herald. 2008-06-08. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  4. ^ "Cigarette package warnings to get larger, more graphic". Toronto Star. 2010-12-30. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-30.

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