April 2, 2014
As a smoker inhales and exhales, there is a plume of smoke that arises from their lips. Written in that exhaled smoke is a message from their lungs, the smoke speaks of danger and death. I understand that smoking is an addiction, more so a compulsion, that helps one manage the stress and trauma of life. But holy cow it’s April 2014. How is it possible that anyone who reads, writes, and understands English (even Yankee English) can continue to ignore the irrefutable truth? Smoking kills!
Not only do we have radio, television, newspapers, and the Internet - now we have “intelligent phones” – the most powerful source of communications and information yet. Time and time again, medical studies have revealed the dangers of smoking – there is no room for debate. The facts revealed by these studies, that smoking is deadly and causes a host of diseases and medical problems – is common knowledge. And yet – smoking continues to push its way into the lives of our children and even the lives of toddlers and infants (through secondary smoke).
We know there are reasons why young people smoke: Peer pressure, “looking adult”, and expressions of independence. But that faulty logic stops with youth. How can anyone, if one considers oneself a mature and educated adult, start or continue to smoke? Perhaps therein lies a fundamental truth. Perhaps smokers simply aren’t mature or educated – since maturity brings with it responsibility for self and others and education fosters logic and strength of will.
Some seven years ago, I was chided that here in Georgia — a Tobacco state — those who smoke have lost yet another “freedom” – seemingly the same loss of freedom as driving drunk, abusing drugs or having to use a seat belt on your children. I’ll never buy into that tired and flawed rhetoric. Rather, “freedom” belongs to those who don’t smoke, who drink responsibly and don’t drive drunk. Freedom was denied the thousands who have died at the hand of drunk drivers and the untold-many with medical problems derived from second hand smoke.
For those of you who smoke, there is nothing I can say that you don’t already know. I urge you to stop neglecting your children. Stop abusing their physical health by smoking in your home or in the family vehicle. Be a responsible parent – an example of what adulthood should reflect – concern for yours and the health of others. Talk to your children about smoking. Have a family meeting and discuss the dangers and reasons why they shouldn’t smoke. Above all, stop smoking yourself.
Final thought for those of you who I’ve completely “ticked off”: It’s because you are so precious – your life so important that I urge you to stop smoking. Protect the most sacred gift you have – your children. Think before you close the windows in your SUV, turn on the air conditioner, turn up the radio, check that your child is “strapped in” and sit back dragging on a Marlboro thinking all is OK. It’ll never be OK until you stop blowing smoke into your child’s face — oh yes indeed, that is exactly what you are doing.