Throughout the course of the school year, many of the participants of our Florida Statewide Tobacco Prevention course have an opportunity to share with us their experiences with tobacco through projects or essays. We like to share their stories because they are always from the heart. Although each story is different they all seem to have two common factors in them: that tobacco takes its toll on their loved ones’ lives, and nicotine is very addictive.
First of all, this project is very near and dear to my heart. My mother has smoked since she was in college. She smokes close to a pack a day. When I visit her, I sit and listen to her cough; she always has an excuse such as bronchitis or is ‘getting sick’. She is a college educated woman, has her master’s degree, and has headed many organizations during her career. What I’m trying to say is she is very bright. She is now 72 years old, she is considered ‘middle class income’ and yet she still smokes.
One of her roommates from college visited this past summer. I actually made a comment of how young she looked, and what did she do? I thought, my mother’s face is filled with wrinkles! She said, “Rita, I’ve never smoked. Your mother has those wrinkles from smoking!” She said it jokingly, but her complexion was beautiful, hardly any wrinkles compared to my mother!
My mother-in-law never smoked a day in her life, but her husband did (in the house) and she died a young age of 65 years old of stage 3-B lung cancer. My mother’s very good friend had his leg amputated due to smoking.
Yet, knowing all this information, she still smokes. She would like to quit, but is so addicted; she can’t. She has tried many times, even has purchased the expensive smoke-less cigarettes to help her and I still see her with her cigarettes.
Why is my mother like so many others smoking when they know the effects it has on their bodies? They are addicted and quitting is so hard.
Many young people start because of peer pressure or ‘looking cool’. They either don’t think they’ll become addicted, have the mentality that it won’t happen to them (cancer) or don’t care.
In the article How Cigarette Addictions Work and Why They Are So Profitable For Tobacco Companies (July 2012) the article stated that the tobacco companies don’t just become rich from us purchasing packs or cartons of cigarettes, but we make tobacco companies richer when we purchase nicotine replacement products. The article stated that these nicotine replacements give us the same amount of nicotine as cigarettes.
It also stated watching tv, watching people/celebrities smoking makes us want to identify with them, thus wanting to purchase and smoke cigarettes. I believe most of these people have the “it won’t happen to me” thought process, or “I can quit if and when I want to.” And then, it’s too late.
Thank you Rita for sharing your story with us.