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Apr 28, 2010

Today I am feeling very out of sorts, and not just because I was late taking my meds. Today my father is having his voicebox, also known as his larynx removed because of cancer. It angers me when people bring up smoking, as if this horror is his just deserts. I protest! He does not deserve this awful consequence because of a poor choice that he made when he was just a kid. He quit smoking about ten years ago, when he was in his mid-sixties. I don't know how old he was when he started, but if I am any example, then it was in his early to mid-teens.

Rather than blame my father for what happened, why not blame BIG TOBACCO? It wasn't until the late Sixties or early Seventies before Congress began to limit their ability to advertise. Luckily those guys on Madison Ave are always looking for ways to advertise that are unique and under the legal wire; product placement is one example. As an ex-smoker, every time I see someone light up in a movie, I feel that subtle twinge. I'm sure that form of advertising picks up many young, impressionable newcomers to nicotine addiction, as well as seasoned addicts, such as myself who relapse on one of the most addictive substances known to humankind. Did you know that nicotine addiction has a relapse rate that is comparable to heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine?

Please pray for my father. Pray that he comes out of surgery alive. Pray that his quality of life improves because of this surgery. Pray for all the smokers out there who can't stop taking that next puff. Pray that Big Tobacco and its supporters in Congress and its profit hungry advertisers stop. Just stop. No legal ramifications. Just stop. You might as well pray that the Earth stop spinning on its axis on that last one. If I've learned anything in this life, it's that greed trumps morality.

Please don't blame my dad for picking up a cigarette some time in the mid- to late- Fifties! He needed medical intervention before he could quit, as did I. Dad used a common anti-depressant that is marketed for nicotine-addiction treatment. I used a nicotine replapecement patch. The patch is very expensive, even the generic ones. These tools for quitting should be more affordable, but then again there's the old macho, cold-turkey approach that also works (just ask my mom) but causes needless suffering and is not as effective. So when you see a smoker, don't scowl and wave your hand around because of the offensive and dangerous second-hand smoke. Scowling and handwaving won't protect you from the harmful effects. Instead, remember that you are looking at a victim. Show a little humanity and sympathy. Just look the other way. I assure you, they already know what you are thinking.

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Posted: Apr 28, 2010 11:57am

 

 
 
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Russell Smith
, 2
Los Angeles, CA, USA
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