The story of a woman who learns the hard way about the bad results of smoking.
|Word Count: 687 words
The Terrible Cost of Smoking
By Lisa Ann Noe
In the early 1980s, it was cool to smoke. I was only thirteen when my friends and I gathered on the ball field to sit beneath the goal post and pass cigarettes around. We thought smoking made us grown-up. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into. I became addicted to those cancer sticks and continued to smoke for the next twenty-five years.
In 1986 my beloved father died of lung cancer after smoking three packs a day for most of his life. He was just 44 when he died. My Grandfather also died of lung cancer after smoking for many years. My Grandmother had three heart attacks and died of emphysema; she was a life-long smoker.
When I turned 38 I was diagnosed with emphysema. It was a terrible feeling, knowing that I had ended up with the same disease that killed my grandmother. As I remember watching her in a nursing home with a trachea in her throat. She couldn’t talk. I was scared but not scared enough to stop smoking. You might say I am stubborn.
If emphysema weren’t bad enough I had asthma as well. Now I have a condition in my lungs called interstitial lung disease. It is a rare and serious disease in which fluid builds up on my lungs and causes me to get double pneumonia very easily. Every time I get a cold it turns into pneumonia.
In October I was in an auto accident which left me with two broken arms and several broken ribs; following the accident I came down with pneumonia. I was so sick that I went into respiratory failure and almost died. I spent 11 days in ICU and another three in the hospital.
It took a lot to teach me a lesson. I have finally quit smoking. At this point, I have a 65% breathing capacity. However, all of the research I have done indicates that my lungs can and will heal over time as long as I keep away from cigarettes. There is no cure for emphysema. However, it won’t get worse without the smoke. The interstitial disease won’t disappear but it will stay in check and I won’t have as many bouts with it if I’m not smoking. Most importantly, my chances for lung cancer go down drastically, as well as those for other cancers and heart attacks. Even colds aren’t as frequent when I quit smoking.
I’m 41 years old and I have suffered many serious health problems. I almost died three times while I was smoking. There are many antidotes on the market to help curb the cravings for cigarettes. There is a new drug, Chantix, which I used. I found it very helpful. Chantix cost about $120.00 a month, and you take it for 12 weeks. It's a small price to pay if you compare it to the cost of cigarettes and the medical bills stemming from smoking. Other products worth checking out include patches, gums, and lozenges. Each of these products is a 12-week step-down program.
Smoking causes many forms of cancer including throat and stomach cancer. It is also a major contributor to heart attacks and diabetes.
It is imperative that you as a parent stop your children from smoking before they develop a
lifelong addiction to a killer substance. The main way to stop your children is through education, let them see first-hand the damage that cigarette smoking can do. Take them to a smoking cessation class, let them read magazine articles or talk to those who have been inflicted with diseases brought on by smoking. Most of all let them see you quit if you smoke. Explain to them that you were wrong to smoke.
Smoking is the # 1 cause of lung cancer. Don’t let it claim another victim, instead live a long healthy life.