Debi Austin

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Debi Austin
Deborah Austin

(1950-04-13)April 13, 1950
DiedFebruary 22, 2013(2013-02-22) (aged 62)
Cause of deathCancer
Known forAnti-smoking advocate

Debi Austin (April 13, 1950 – February 22, 2013) was a pioneering anti-smoking advocate, appearing in anti-tobacco ads that aired in California starting in 1996.[1][2][3]


Born Deborah Austin on April 13, 1950 in Illinois, she moved to Los Angeles in 1954. She started regularly smoking cigarettes in junior high. In 1992, she was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and had a laryngectomy. She starred in the well-known Voicebox ad, where she is talking to the viewer then smokes through her stoma at her throat, described in a statement by Dr. Ron Chapman of the California Department of Public Health as "the most-recognized and talked about California tobacco control ad". He continued, "Debi was a pioneer in the fight against tobacco and showed tremendous courage by sharing her story to educate Californians on the dangers of smoking."[4] Though she was finally able to quit smoking a few months after the ads first aired, she continued to battle various forms of cancer for the rest of her life.[5]

Austin died on February 22, 2013 in Van Nuys, California, at the age of 62.


  1. ^ "Debi Austin Dead: Woman Who Smoked Through Hole In Throat Dies At 62". Huffington Post. February 28, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  2. ^ Bloomekatz, Ari (February 27, 2013). "Debi Austin dies at 62; star of jarring 1990s anti-smoking ad - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  3. ^ "Debi Austin, Anti-Smoking Advocate Seen in 'Voicebox' Ad, Dead at 62 - ABC News". ABC News. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  4. ^ Gore, Anita; Heather Bourbeau (February 26, 2013). "Iconic Anti-Tobacco Advocate, Debi Austin, Loses Battle to Cancer". Sacramento: California Department of Public Health. Archived from the original on March 2, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  5. ^ Bloomekatz, Ari (February 27, 2013). "Debi Austin dies at 62; star of jarring 1990s anti-smoking ad". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-03-10.

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