Why some people smoke is beyond me. I do not smoke. I grew up in a family of nicotine-addicted smokers and I have never understood the attraction. Smoking, in my observation, is a dirty habit. Cigarette ashes in trays, the smell of smoke in the air, the staleness that settles upon a room and people is hard to overcome. In short, smoking is dirty and unhealthy. As an individual, I am the opposite and smoking goes against my grain.
I remember being a little girl, maybe 5 years old, and watching my father’s lit cigarette swirl blue smoke up, up, and up, in a trail similar to that left in the sky by jets, I thought. This fascinated me. I would watch until it disappeared and my eyes would return to the lit cigarette and follow a new stream of pretty, blue smoke. Little did I know, the damage done by something so seemingly innocuous. My father had a smoker’s cough. I can still hear it in my mind. Pretty, blue smoke inhaled by my dad filled his lungs and calmed him. It was good in his mind. The fact is it nearly killed him years later.
Death by smoking takes years of damage to accomplish. Nicotine is a slow poison. Many years ago, smoking was socially acceptable and there were few restrictions as to where one could smoke. Social acceptance of smoking is the cause of many health issues today suffered by the baby-boomer generation such as my parents, when smoking was cool. The table has turned on smoking in recent decades. Smoking has fallen in favor; it is no longer cool.
I tried smoking cigarettes as a young teenager. My sister would laugh at my half-hearted inhaling. How anyone can do this, I thought as I coughed and choked trying to regain my breath. That may be the biggest reason why I do not smoke. I tried it at an impressionable age but did not succumb to addiction. A smoker’s hack is nothing to envy. Respiratory distress is uncomfortable and scary. Why do that to yourself?