Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Great American Smokeout '14

Back when I was young, every adult I knew smoked. Granted, they were mainly farmers, farmers wives and the crotchety bus driver. I mean, if anyone had a (completely bogus "life is just too stressful") excuse to smoke, were you really going to argue with those guys? Rural farmers loved to smoke. Everyone I knew, really. All my siblings and even my sister, who was and still is the most health conscious person I know, smoked.

The Great American Smokeout challenges smokers to stop smoking cigarettes for 24 hours with the hopes that this decision will continue on forever.
The Study That Helped Spur the U.S. Stop-Smoking Movement
The Surgeon General made the announcement in 1964 that smoking was in fact, bad for you, and according to the CDC, "more than 45 million American adults still smoke, more than 8 million are living with a serious illness caused by smoking, and about 438,000 Americans die prematurely each year as a result of tobacco use". This year marks 50 years since that report was first issued.
And then, here I am. 
I've never smoked one cigarette but have trouble catching my breath when walking, reaching for things on shelves and when it's chilly outside. I'm currently fighting a cold (thanks Tom), which I get advance warning of when I feel the congestion starting in my lungs and throat. And every year I come down with at least one cold which leads to bronchitis (always followed by laryngitis), which has severely damaged my voice in the process. I used to be able to sing well and speak without my voice cutting out. Now I find myself having to cough and clear my throat every few minutes and my voice has audibly changed due to loosing it for three weeks in 2010. I sometimes get pains in my chest for no reason where it hurts to breathe. I know it's because I grew up in a dense cloud of smoke for 16 years. Secondhand smoke is not a rumor that was made up to convince parents to quit.

This day means a lot to me.
I know these Smokeout event still take place, but I can't seem to find any stickers or pamphlets being distributed or cardboard cutouts of a diseased lung displayed next to a healthy one. I know that it probably because it's more likely you'd find this event in a school, college or hospital- where I am not. So that means, for everyone else who isn't a school or employed as a medical professional (or sick) you're missing this day as well. So here it is, my plea. Call or text the smokers in your life and urge them try one more time. For their kids, for their health and to hopefully kill this horrible habit. Put it on Facebook. Tweet it and if you're going to try quitting, look for some buddies to do it with you.

So tell me...
Anyone else have family and friends who still smoke?
Anyone grow up in a cloud of second hand smoke?
Anyone taking the Great Smokeout challenge?

1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669)
Text SmokeFree- 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to help smokers quit.

American Cancer Society-The Great American Smokeout
Tips From Former Smokers


  1. I grew up around smokers. Luckily, they have all stopped. I pray for those taking those steps. It's a battle, but one that can be won...one day at a time.

    1. I can't imagine having any addiction, and this is such a prevalent one. They definitely need all the support we can provide!

  2. Smoking is bad for sure. Makes me shake my head when I see kids these days start -- seeing as the education they get about what smoking does to you is way more in-depth than when I was in school.

    I grew up with parents who smoked. I remember long car rides where they smoked and it was disgusting. I had friends who smoked. I dabbled, but never serious. It was awful going into bars when I got of age. I remember, when in school, the teacher's room was a smoke-filled one, and some teachers even smoked in their classrooms at the end of the day. I am sure it was even worse years before that.

    In the early 1990s, when I was just out of high school, my mother had a heart attack. She quit smoking. Now she's probably healthier than most. My father quit/went back/quit etc. and lost a battle to lung cancer a few years ago.

    I rejoiced when New York eliminated smoking in bars. Now if I go to a state that allows it, it makes me sick.

    I still get annoyed when people, who have to go outside to smoke, have no respect and do it near a door so people have to walk through a cloud of smoke.

    My favorite is the "smoker's right" movement. What about those of us who don't to smell that crap, have secondhand smoke in our lungs or smell like it?

    The Great American Smokeout is still a great day. It would be even better if more people continued to quit.

    On a side note, have you thought about contacting the ACS to inquire about stickers etc.? There might be a way to get some and some pamphlets to hand out etc.

    1. Thanks for that explanation, I grew up with it in the 90s, when people weren't so oblivious (but chose to do it anyway). Of course, if you look at the graph, that's when all the lung cancer, etc started to rear it's ugly head and people suddenly started to care. I haven't, I wouldn't know where to start. And while I suppose I could just hand them out to people, it wouldn't go over well. I have a feeling that any supermarket or similar would turn me away, because of the nature of it being nyc. In a small town it might be easier to organize something.

  3. Awesome. I know some folks to pass this along to! Thanks much!


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