New Yorkers have grown to know Skip Legault's face well from anti-smoking ads in the subway and on TV over the past few weeks. A smoker since he was eight, Legault has lost a leg to blood clots, suffered two heart attacks in his twenties, and had a debilitating stroke. Worst of all, ABC reports, he can't quit—a detail not made clear in the ad campaign.
"I'm afraid to quit," Legault said, adding, "I don't feel like a hypocrite, because I'm not telling people what to do. I'm not telling them not to smoke. I'm just showing them what happens." Apparently Legault's pathos is what makes the ads compelling: "He's an extreme example of what smoking can do to somebody," said a New York Health Department spokeswoman.