Los Angeles Times:
For American smokers, her portrait is a glimpse of a future frightening to ponder and, for U.S. health officials, perhaps too powerful to foist on the public: an unsparing photograph of a person scarcely recognizable as a woman, her body wasted by cancer, her hair gone, her blue eyes fixed in a thousand-mile stare.
She was Barb Tarbox, and she died on May 18, 2003, of lung cancer at the age of 42. From October 2002, two months after she was diagnosed, to the moment of her death, the Edmonton, Canada, homemaker set about making her ordeal a lesson to others about the dangers of smoking.
In her final months, she maintained a punishing schedule of public speeches to schoolchildren and teen groups and allowed a newspaper to chronicle her slide toward death.
The photograph, taken five days before Tarbox died, was one of 36 images the Food and Drug Administration considered in the run-up to last week’s unveiling of nine graphic messages that must be on the cover of every cigarette pack sold in the United States starting in the fall of 2012.
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