9 Mar 2010
SMOKING KILLS - NO IFS - NO BUTTS
SMOKING KILLS - NO IFS - NO BUTTS
ARE YOU DYING FOR A CIGARETTE?
I am . . .
If you are a smoker, chances are, it will happen to you.
I smoked for 28 years. I wanted to â€œfit inâ€ with my friends. I didnâ€™t drink or smoke, as my friends did. I loathed the very idea of both, but feeling unaccepted amongst my peers, being accepted was far more important. So, I tried my first cigarette. I hated it. It took me over a year of persevering and putting up with the pain, smell and taste of nicotine to perfect the art, and started feeling â€œpretty cool.â€ I shall never forget that memorable day when I took my first painful, drag. I was just 15 years old.
When I reached the age of 35, I sought medical advice to alleviate my chronic, hacking cough. I was told I had the beginnings of Emphysema and that if I didnâ€™t stop smoking immediately, I would develop this incurable, deteriorative disease called Emphysema, and be dead before I reached my 40th birthday. So terrified at hearing this news, the first thing I did was reach for a cigarette, and began to smoke even more heavily. Only a smoker would understand this seemingly bizarre reaction . . . thatâ€™s because smoking is not simply a habit, as so many people call it. It is an addiction; a deadly addiction.
I did manage to reach 40 and as the doctor had predicted, I was diagnosed with Emphysema. Quitting smoking was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my entire life. I tried and failed many, many times, even though my breathing was laboured; I could not walk more than a few steps without gasping for air. I puffed and panted my way through what I saw as having been given an instant death sentence. I felt my world was crumbling down and that my life was over.
Being unable to quit â€œcold turkey,â€ I tried chewing Nicorette Gum, (the only product on the market at that time, to help smokers quit). It helped me enormously, and if not for that Nicorette, I doubt I would have been able to quit, which I finally did, before I reached 41. I have now been an ex-smoker for 17 years and four months.
I had stopped smoking. The cigarettes were gone, but the Emphysema remained. I am now 57 years of age and suffering severe, advanced and irreversible Emphysema, or COPD, (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), as it is called today. This disease is a direct result of my addiction to smoking cigarettes. I used to be a dancer, and a good one. Now, I cannot dance at all. I canâ€™t walk far without stopping and starting. When the weather is too hot, too cold or too windy, I cannot go out at all. This COPD does not just affect oneâ€™s body; with the loss of mobility, my confidence plummeted I felt the pain of the isolation it brings, the depression, alienation, and all else that goes with a deteriorative, incurable disease. It doesnâ€™t sound very pretty. It is not meant to sound pretty.
Cigarettes were my best friends. I was well and truly hooked by my late teens. When I was sad, my cigarettes consoled me. When I was happy, I would celebrate with a cigarette. When I was feeling lonely, those cigarettes were always there for me. But cigarettes were not my best friends, and they are not yours. Best friends donâ€™t kill you. They love you, support and nurture you; not drain your body and soul with every puff and leaving one with an incurable disease.
Please, if you think this canâ€™t happen to you, think again, because it can. I kidded myself for 28 years. â€œIt wonâ€™t happen to me.â€ But it did happen to me, and I am now paying the ultimate price.
Look after your body. Nurture and love yourself, and in turn, your body shall look after you.
Sharon Perlman (AKA Ziggy Baitz)
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