On my soapbox
It's been a while since I've written a personal, non-deleted, introspective post. I think it's about time for one. This has been on my mind all week & it's only driving me crazy because the person who needs to hear it, doesn't care to listen in the least bit. Or really, doesn't care at all. So, what's better than blogging about it if I'm not going to be heard. This is something we all know, maybe we share the same feelings, maybe we don't, but it's going to be said anyway.
Smoking is one of the most selfish habits anyone can have.
There is absolutely no reason to do it, no reason to start, no valid reason to keep doing it. Personally, I find it disgusting, but there are so many other reasons why I hate the habit (& no, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life). It's mainly because it effects everyone around them, as much as the smoker may deny. They refuse to believe how much their habit hurts the ones they love the most (or are supposed to), far beyond the physical damage. There is so much emotional damage that comes along with it.
Kids from a very early age are taught that smoking is bad & to never start. They hear this in school, in church & sometimes at home. We see the commercials out there now about how smoking causes cancer & many other health problems. It's undeniable how much they slowly kill a person, when the warning is right there on the box. Kids take this warning to heart. They love their parents & other family members & knowing that smoking kills, they want to make them stop. For those that missed Oprah's Stop Smoking episode, there's the daughter of a smoking couple practically begging her parents to quit. It's heart breaking.
I know how that little kid feels, knowing that her parents are doing something "bad" that will kill them. This kind of knowledge & guilt that's put on their shoulders is more than unfair, it's cruel. It's callous. It's damaging, not only in the physical sense, but the emotional as well. If you want to mentally torture your kids? Keep smoking, even when the beg you to stop. And don't believe that you can hide it from them. They will find out. They aren't stupid.
As the years go by & the smoker continues their addictive habit, they get in way over their heads to the point where it's almost impossible to stop. It's been said that smoking is just as addictive as heroin. Why on Earth would someone start doing something that is so difficult to stop? Especially today! With everything we know! It still boggles my mind. But, because it's so difficult to stop, the physical damage to the smoker continues to progress. What happens to the family if (or more like when) the smoker develops diseases like emphysema or cancer? It's one of the most horrific times in a family members life, creating so much suffering equal to the physical suffering of the diseased smoker.
I've worked in a cancer clinic many years ago, where the majority of the patients were lung cancer patients. They would come in for chemo & with their oxygen tank in tow, hang out in the courtyard & light up again. It was the epitome of addiction. They were dying & couldn't stop (or hated themselves so much that they didn't want to). On more than one occasion, a cancer patient who also had emphysema, with their greenish-gray skin color, would stop breathing right before my eyes. Have you ever witnessed someone suffocating right in front of you? It's traumatic. The extreme fear in their eyes is something that would deter anyone from starting the deadly habit. Calling 9-1-1 to get them to the hospital ASAP before you witness their immanent death is something that no family member should have to experience.
Then there's the "C" word. Cancer. We live in a society where everything "causes" cancer. The sun, the air we breath, the products we use on our skin & the food we eat. But, without a shadow of a doubt we DO KNOW that smoking causes cancer. If you don't believe that, then Lord help you, because you're going to need it. As well as having worked in a cancer clinic, I've had family die from cancer. While not suffering from lung cancer, the result is the same. A slow & painful death. I vividly remember the last days of a passing loved one on morphine to stop the pain, calling to make sure they could say their good-byes regularly because nobody knew when the day would come, albeit soon. It was gut wrenchingly difficult, to say the least. Knowing that the risk of this being your future is very, very likely, I still don't know why a person would make the choice to smoke.
I wish more smokers would think about The Big Picture. Rather than thinking about how "cool" they are, or how much of a stress reliever it is for them, being selfish to the nth degree, I wish they would think about how their family is suffering from it or will suffer greatly in the near future. How much stress it causes them. How many tears would be shed from the results of their habits, how many sleepless nights there will be worrying about medical bills & everything else that comes along with illness.
There is no valid reason to start, no good reason to keep doing it & no sane reason to ever pick it up again.