In 1977 a two-year-old girl, my daughter, saved my life. I was working long hours and smoking about three packs of cigarettes a day. Of course, in those days, it cost 50¢ per pack so it wasn’t like today when, expensive as cigarettes have become, I’d probably stop just because I’m too cheap to spend that much.
Anyway, I was completing a project and, as soon as possible, I made a mad dash for my car. It was dark and near my little girl’s bedtime. I hated that she might miss me telling her a bedtime story, our normal routine. So, despite the fact that I had only one Camel left in the pack, I did not stop for more cigarettes on the way home.
She was still up! I sat her on my lap in the living room and commenced making up a story. Today I find this unfathomably selfish and stupid but, with her on my lap, I lit my last cigarette. Continuing with the story, some of the smoke drifted into her little face.
“Oh Papa, that’s pooey,” she said, waving her tiny hand back and forth in front of her.
Thus did I experience my insight. It was the last cigarette of my life which, thanks to her complaint, has been healthier and, I’m convinced, longer than it would have been had I continued to smoke.
I have had friends who smoked cigarettes. I felt sorry for them. I wished that there was something that I could say or do to get them to stop. Every single one of them knew as well as I did how bad it was for them. Every one of them rationalized away the scientific reality that it was poisoning the organs inside their bodies. The future health problems that they would face that would be directly related to their cigarette smoking were too awful to think about and so, in fact, they refused to think about it.
This is not to mention some of the tangential negatives such as others suffering from their secondhand smoke; the waste of thousands of dollars that could be put to better use; the sour odor of stale cigarette smoke that permeated their clothing and hair and offended co-workers and friends too polite to say anything.
The health care costs of mass cigarette smoking are so huge that I suggest tobacco farming ought to be outlawed. Tobacco industry CEOs, lobbyists, & sellers of tobacco products who flaunt those laws ought to be prosecuted. Politicians who accept Big Tobacco largesse ought to be kicked out of office forever. Finally, for people too weak to stop smoking on their own, there should be mandatory residential treatment facilities funded by money from fines levied against those within and outside the tobacco industry that violate the anti-tobacco laws.
For those of you still smoking, think about the fun-filled cruise that you could take with the money you put in a jar every time that you otherwise would have purchased a pack or a carton of cigarettes. How much are they now?
As you recover from surgery, you may feel tired and not interested in exercising much, if at all. But it's important for your health and well-being to start moving around.