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April 23, 2021

I never smoked cigarettes in high school. Back then I was a surfer and smoking just didn’t fit in with the lifestyle. However, shortly after high school my girlfriend took up the habit. I thought I would teach her a lesson by smoking all of the cigarettes that remained in her pack, The result? I was a heavy smoker for the next three decades. When I say heavy, I mean three packs a day.

In college, I remember feeling cool and sophisticated as I chugged away during all of my classes. After all, I was a liberated intellectual or so I thought. My smoking continued through a marriage, a divorce, raising a child on my own and through some of my second marriage. It was always degusting to those around me but because I was so well loved (or maybe just put up with) nobody really made a big deal about it. I even hid myself away in the garage after my second marriage because my wife has asthma. One lecture after another by my doctors did not deter me in the least.

Like many I tried unsuccessfully to quit smoking many times. However, there just wasn’t enough underlining conviction to do the trick. Then one morning arrived when I did the math. At three packs a day, I was throwing away enough money for a good vacation every year. Economics was the clincher! That was back in 1995.

Since then I have been the typical “ex-smoker pain in the ass.” I now can’t stand to be within 50 feet of a smoker and I regularly give unsolicited advice to friends and strangers alike who are smokers. My cousin’s wife in Italy was a heavy smoker and I used to say “Rauchen machts man tot!” (Smoking kills) every time I saw her light up. “Fuck you!” was always her response. However, she is now a non-smoker. Did I wear her down? I’m guessing probably not. She most likely just found that special time to stop, just as I had years before.

When I see people smoking today, especially young people, I feel a compelling responsibility to say something. After all, I have light emphysema and I have had my carotid artery replaced and I feel both were caused in some part by smoking. I know in my heart that the “Do you want to wind up like me?” approach is ineffective. Young people don’t listen to older folks on a good day. I just wish I could save a few of these people from the experiences I’ve had with smoking. It’s silly perhaps but I feel very strongly about this subject. I have become a anti-smoking crusader of sorts.

In a perfect world none of us would want or need to smoke. However a nice chunk of our economy revolves around tobacco products as do the specific economies of states such as Virginia. Incessant advertising, much of which has been curtailed, combined with slick packaging still induces people to smoke. The joke is that these days there is probably a like amount of money spent on smoking cessation products. The cost to our nation in medical expenses alone is staggering.

I am now a non-smoker and I shall remain so for the rest of my days. Those of you who smoke have a choice to make. Although my whining at you probably won’t change squat, it is my most fervent wish that you say no to tobacco. At a minimum you’ll live longer and I’ll be happier for it.

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  1. I jus’ found out my son (29) and daughter-in-law (40) are smokers. I have never been.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is so true. Many of us have gone through the smoking phase. The world needs to do something about it. I think there is a lot of awareness and lesser smoking compared to the past decades. It might take another 50 years for humanity to completely reject it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I never hit three packs a day but I smoked for four decades. Must have quit 30 times. What finally got me to quit for good was turning 60. It was a “holy shit I’m getting old” moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well . . . you’ve convinced me: I’m quitting immediately! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Lump in throat. I’ve lost two cousins (sisters) younger than I am to COPD. Just think of the living they still could have enjoyed.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am sorry to hear that. Like I said, I have become an anti-smoking crusader of sorts. If I can save just one life, I will be happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As you said, you might not change any minds, but congratulations on being an ex-smoker. Maybe just by living the example someone will follow it.

    Liked by 3 people

    Thank you, ChrisCONGRATULATIONS! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, ChrisCONGRATULATIONS! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris

    Liked by 3 people

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