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To quit smoking takes a personal reason
April 24, 2012 - Jim Smith
"Will the more graphic warnings deter more people from smoking?" was a poll question on the NewsandSentinel.com home page.
No surprise, more than 80 percent of the respondents said "no."
Some of the comments centered on the self-serving opinion that second-hand smoke is not harmful even though numerous scientific studies have determined just the opposite. Other comments went down the road that people should have the freedom to do whatever they wish and/or only a few cigarettes a day won't hurt anyone.
Still others followed the belief that no matter what "proof" or images are presented to smokers, smokers will do as they please, not necessarily what is good for them or those around them.
Of course, there are always those who believe non-smokers are forcing their view on smokers and smokers' "rights" are being usurped.
For more than 10 years in college and at my first two post-college jobs I heavily smoked -- meaning up to three packs a day back when they were substantially less expensive and I let many of those cigarettes burn up in ashtrays as I pounded out stories on old-fashioned typewriters. When I was at home, my wife repeatedly told me she could predict when I would light up a cigarette and she always was right.
Even after our daughter was born I foolishly continued to smoke until it finally got through my thick skull that I was doing no one any good by filling my lungs, my wife's lungs and my daughter's lungs with toxic, chemical-laced smoke.
More than 30 years ago, I quit smoking after a Columbus police sergeant friend hypnotized me a couple of times and re-enforced my desire to quit. While he still takes credit for my quitting, he also acknowledges that I really had to want to quit for the sessions to actually help.
I had seen a couple of friends become very ill with lung cancer, have operations and be left with many tasks they could no longer perform due to cancer and smoking, but that wasn't enough to make me quit. I had read all the warnings on packs of cigarettes, but that too was not enough to make me quit. I had seen all the black lung images of the ill-effects of smoking, but those too did not make me want to quit.
It took our infant daughter hacking in the back seat of our car because of my cigarette smoke to make me quit.
Those graphic warnings hopefully will dissuade youth from starting to smoke, but it will take something very personal to get a smoker to finally throw that last pack of cigarettes away and never buy another.
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