Breaking The Habit: Becoming Smoke Free
Plea to You, The Smoker
Breaking the smoking habit is hard. Really hard. It’s not for the faint of heart… or the lazy. Don’t care about the people around you who love you and try to get you to stop? Puff away. Pick out your casket, dig your grave, and sit by it and smoke until you fall in. Extreme? Maybe a bit. But if you’re a smoker, you are on your own self-induced death row waiting for enough toxins to build up in your body to stop your organs from functioning. It’s a grim, agonizing, self-induced death. I have seen it play out in friends and neighbors many times. It’s always painful.
“But my great uncle’s cousin’s brother-in-law by his third marriage smoked, dipped, snuffed and drank all at the same time and lived to be one hundred and five years old! That’s what I’m going to do too!” He was an anomaly. The albino deer. The duck with two heads. You’re not going to be that lucky. He should have played the lottery. You shouldn’t even think about buying a ticket.
"But smoking is part of my life! We raised tobacco and lived off of tobacco! We smoked it, dipped it, snuffed it, and even ate it a few times to survive!” My family is no different from yours. I remember planting tobacco as a child and working in it. I remember how it provided and put food on many tables. I also remember how sick my father became working in it at times. I remember seeing my uncle miserable for several days from nicotine poisoning while working with it after a rain had dampened it. I remember my aunt describing being covered in the chemicals and pesticides used to treat it. Just because it was a part of your life doesn’t mean it should end it.
The last years of your life will be horrendously difficult, slow, and painful. Depending on where the toxins attack your body will determine which part of you dies first. Possibly throat cancer, mouth cancer, lung cancer……or maybe it will just attack your heart and veins, causing them to harden to the point that they can no longer expand to allow blood to flow. Your heart will enlarge and harden, you will smother and fight for every breath you take. Eventually you will lose your mind because your blood will not be able to carry enough oxygen to your brain for it to function properly. And finally you will lose the battle, and struggling for your very last breath, gasping with absolutely all of the force your body can muster….you will die.
"Why do you hate smokers so much? Why can’t I smoke wherever I want and you just get over it?” I don’t hate smokers, not one bit. I wish it was possible for everyone who gets addicted to quit, but it’s just not. It takes a strong person to quit. Someone who is willing to ask for help. From his or her doctor. From their family. From their friends. From themselves. If your resolution is to quit smoking….ask for help, and then help yourself. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It will steal time from your life, from your children and family, and from someone who needs you. Wake up before it’s too late.
Your Family Pharmacist,
Samuel Warnell, Pharm. D.