Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quit Blowing Smoke

The other night while trying to avoid watching this show, a commercial came on that caught my attention.  Now, we've talked about my love of the Old Spice Commercials (and the one where the lady bowls into the wall, but I still can't find a clip), but aside from those few, I usually mute the commercials and use the 2 minute break to blab Corey's ear off. 

However, this commercial also caught my attention

(Sorry it's so big, I can't figure out how to shrink it)

Talk about effective. I was so captivated because smoking is another one of my soapbox issues.  In fact, it's another of the things that baffles me.  (That list seems to be getting longer....) 

I've never been a smoker, I've never tried smoking and short of a guy I dated who smoked, I've always done my best to avoid, said smoke.  It's yucky, it smells bad and it contributes greatly to the deterioration of both your body and your quality of life.  Oh, and did I mention is does serious damage to one's bank account.

Now, if you started smoking some 50 years ago, I can at least say I semi understand the starting part (less the yucky smell and bank account attack) because we didn't know what we do now about what cigarettes are doing to our bodies.  What I still don't understand is why continue?  Why perpetuate a habit that's only going to put you in your grave sooner.

No, being a smoker is the causes of every smoker's death (got that one?) some die of other causes.  But a great number have either suffered some of the smoking consequences up until that point of being not alive.  It feels to me like standing in the center of the Autobahn , saying "Well, not everyone who is on the street gets hit and killed.  Sooooo, I'll just hang out here and take my chances"  We'd all agree that guy's an idiot, but as you call 9-1-1, with a smoke hanging from your lips, tell me what's the difference?

And if all of that doesn't make you want to toss your pack and get a grip, what about what your habit does to those around you?  We know now that second hand smoke - kills!  It causes those around you to suffer the same effect of cigarette smoking that you do, except they're not the ones with the flaming piece of tar in their mouths.  Do you really want to be responsible for their quality of life being decreased?  Do you want their death on your shoulders?  Sure, talking death is extreme but it's also reality, in the whole big picture, a grave reality.

Then there are the children.  Yes, I said the kids.  No you may not blow it in their face or smoke in your car.  But newsflash - if you're walking down the sidewalk, with your babe in the stroller, they're still breathing some of your toxins.  Think about it.

I understand that we all make bad choices (trust me when I say, I'm a very solid member of BCA - Bad Choices Anonymous) but most bad choices can be at the very least repaired with a good choice.  I also know and understand the addiction factor.  I spent some time post high school taking some University courses that covered the portions of the body set to depend on the nicotine.  Heck, one day I'll even tell you about what happened to my body with the narcotics they had me on when I was sick back before Bethany was born. 

I also know that there are options and help to beat the habit.  Many who start, also stop.  It's one of those sheer determination things, the making up of your mind and the committing to face the with drawls, the longing and whatever else you feel as you let go of something that's become such a huge part of your life.

Still not convinced?  Let's try one more thing....

Let's flash forward a little ways, say to the end of your life.  You've lived a good life, at 35 years old you've kissed a few, loved a few, you saw the Vancouver Canucks almost with the Stanley Cup a few times, you graduated high school and you even finished University.  So, you didn't really get past being an intern at your dream firm, but at least you were in the door and security wasn't chasing to get you out.  Sure, you wanted to see the whole of this beautiful country we live in but, at least you got as far as Saskatchewan.  Ya, you wanted kids but hey, at least since you decided to wait a little longer you won't be leaving any behind.  Ok, so it sort of sucks that the chance you had to play pro-ball went down the crapper when you couldn't get the air to run the bases, but you probably won't have gone that far anyways, right?  Right?

Now, what's left of you.  A coughing, phlegmy mess, on your death bed, facing the end of a life barely begun and what's hanging from your lips but a smoke.  It's the end, what does it matter now?  That's the same thing you said 10 years ago, when the doctor warned you this was coming.  "I've smoked since I was 14, what does it matter now?"  It mattered, you see that now.  If you'd have stopped then, you'd have stood a chance.  You could have salvaged what was left of life and enjoyed many more years.  But instead, you lay there, bank account drained from the cost of both medicine and smokes, letting go of a life not lived and the family that will never be.

You wouldn't walk away from a man drowning in a river, saying "It's too late now, he's been out there too long.  Even if I reached him, there's nothing I can do" you'd kick of your shoes and run full force towards him, you wouldn't worry about your clothes or your new watch, all you'd be thinking of is saving him, of bringing him in to stand a chance, if not for him but for his family.   You'd grab him around the waist and swim to safety, as you blow air into his lungs you'd pray "please God, save him!"  And as the paramedics drove away, someone might slap you on the should and say "Job well done, son!  You saved his life...thank you!"  So, throw yourself a life line, buy the gum, quit cold turkey, see your doctor but quit now.  Add saving a life, your life to your list of greatest accomplishments and take a breath of fresh air.

You can do this, I know you can.  And when you do let me know, because you can be sure I'll say "Job Well done!  You saved a life today... thank you!"

Check out the Canadian Lung Association for help quitting!  Or Shard O'Glass, they've got help there too!


Kami's Khlopchyk said...

I so agree. My in laws smoke. In their house. All the time.

It about kills me.

But they will not quit. Ever. And they refuse to keep their house smoke free for the rest of us.

You have to pick your battles and this one, while I completely agree to how bad smoking is, is not worth it. So we go and inhale the toxins because they are family and we love them.

kim said...

I'm not a smoker, but I was. If it were good for you, I'd still be smoking (and thin, well thinner).

Anyway, I think alcohol is a much worse vice. No one ever smoked a few cigarettes and then beat their wives and kids!

I'm annoyed that alcohol is glorified on television.

Oops! This is your soapbox!

StephLove said...

My father died of throat and lung cancer last January at the age of 66, after 47 years of smoking. He didn't quit until the last few months, by which point it was too late. He was even smoking while going through chemo.