As the New Year approaches and people start making resolutions, I would like to suggest that one of the most important resolutions smokers can make is to commit to quit in 2013.
I grew up in the 60s and 70s with a father who smoked a pipe and later graduated to smoking cigarettes. As an asthmatic child who was allergic to smoke and pet dander, I suffered immensely. During this era, we did not have as much information about second-hand cigarette smoke or conclusive data about lung cancer. Oprah always says, “When we know better, we do better.”
Today we know better. We know the health dangers of smoking and the hazards of second hand smoke, so there is no excuse. While I survived second hand smoke and the asthma attacks brought on by it, my dad was not so fortunate. He eventually died of lung cancer—the direct result of smoking cigarettes. I can attest to the fact that there is no greater pain or hurt than to watch a loved one deteriorate from cancer and not be able to do anything for him but pray and try, as best you can, to make him comfortable as they make their transition.
Today I am determined to do all that I can to help others, first of all, avoid starting to smoking, and secondly, share my story of heartache and loss, as an advocate with the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention & Poverty Network (WTPPN) and any other vehicle available. I urge smokers to make a serious effort to quit a priority New Year’s resolution. If you cannot quit smoking on your own, get help. If you are unable to quit smoking for yourself and your health, then do it for those who love you so they do not have to endure the pain and grief that I did. Happy smoke-free New Year! Ladette Austin email@example.com