I am sure that there are a lot of people reading this article that would like to quit smoking but have been unsuccessful. We know that it is something that we should do not only for our own personal health but for the health of others. Yes, quitting isn’t just important for YOU! If you smoke, you are hurting your loved ones and others. Health officials stress how important it is to stay away from secondhand smoke, especially for people like me who have had a heart attack. Breathing secondhand smoke is very detrimental to our health.
The problem is that most people who smoke really like to smoke. I did, too, and I started at a very early age. I hate to admit this but I used to take cigarettes from my father’s Standard Oil service station and smoke them up the back street with my friends when I was 9 or 10 years old! Looking back now, I can’t believe that my parents let me get away with doing this! They both smoked and I guess that they didn’t know that this was going on. As I got older and got involved in sports in the seventh and eighth grades, especially basketball, I stopped the smoking and became one of the few kids that didn’t smoke. That continued until I quit participating in college basketball after my sophomore year at Northern Illinois University. I then started smoking again for some unknown reason and did so until 1989 – more than 30 years later.
I, like many of you, quit smoking many times over those 30-plus years. I quit for six months, a year, even two years a couple of times but never could quit break away from those stinking cigarettes. You surely realize how much they stink after you once quit for good! I traveled all over the United States a good part of my working life. I wouldn’t smoke at home in front of my kids as they were constantly after me to quit but as soon as I got to my destination each week I would smoke until I got the nicotine level back to the smoker’s level.
Well, in 1965, when I got promoted to a position close to New York City, my wife and I decided that we would both quit because of the expense of living out East. The cigarettes had just gone up to 50 cents and we said that we weren’t going to pay that outrageous price! Oh, I think that I have given away my age! Anyway, my wife really did quit and hasn’t smoked since then. I, however, smoked only at the office and thought that I was fooling my wife. That was really pretty funny — me thinking that no one at home would know that I was cheating on the no-smoking deal. Smoke gets into your clothing and everything else and you really can’t hide it.
So, how did I quit? It happened because of one of my good doctors in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., where we lived in 1989. I started to have arthritis problems and started going to a doctor who prescribed me strong medicines to control the pain that I was having. They, of course, were after me to quit smoking every time that I came to their offices to see them. Then, one day, one of those doctors told me that the new medicine he was about to give me could, combined with the nicotine from the cigarettes I was smoking, cause internal bleeding and I could die before I was able to get to the hospital. Now, whether that was true or not, I do not know, but it got my attention. I had children that I wanted to see grow up and grandchildren that they would be having that I wanted to see and to spoil. It caused me to quit on the spot and I haven’t had a cigarette in my mouth since that day.
I guess we all need something like that to get our attention and to give us a very good reason to stop this very expensive and harmful habit. I don’t think anyone will quit smoking until someone gets our attention and we finally realize what we are doing to ourselves and to everyone else around us. If for no other reason, we need to quit for the sake of our relatives, friends, and other who are constantly around us. We have no right to harm these people. Also, we have no right to raise the cost of health care and make the rest of the non-smoking society pay the cost of all the health problems we will eventually have down the road. But, with all the facts available to us today, many people are putting their heads in the sand and are still smoking.
The fact of the matter is that no one is going to quit smoking until they “want” to quit smoking. That is the number one thing that must happen. So, when you are ready to save yourself a lot of money and when you want to start feeling good again, get to your general M.D. and ask for his help. He has many things available to give you the help you need once that you make up your mind. So, MAKE UP YOUR MIND to take back control of your body. Once you do, you, like me, will feel so much better and you most certainly will live so much longer. Good luck.
Written by Ted Anderson. Insurance agent Ted W. Anderson worked in sales for half a century, has lived in Albany since 1993. He is president of Dover Lane Neighborhood Watch. Send email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.