Thursday, November 15

The Great American Smokeout

One thing I think we can all agree is smoking is bad for your health. Ask anyone, smoker or non-smoker and they will tell you they realize smoking can cause severe health risks. Many non-smokers cannot understand the addiction nicotine has on one. I have smoked for 30 years, and yes I know the health risks. I've quite a hundred times. It's the easiest thing to do! How long did it last? I think 3 days was the longest I've ever gone without a cigarette. I've tried the gum, the patch, other prescribed drugs and nothing has worked for me. Year before last when my brother was diagnosed with lung cancer I quite yet again. This time I believe it was about a week. Since that time I have cut down to about 4 a day and for that I am very proud. That late morning cigarette with a cup of coffee or one right after dinner are the best.

In the early 1980's I served on the board of directors for the American Cancer Society. I was nominated publicity chairman my second year. I was charged with orchestrating the first Great American Smokeout for West Virginia. This required our Governor (now Senator) Rockefeller signing the proclamation declaring the Thursday before Thanksgiving as the Great American Smokeout for West Virginia.

This is a picture of the signing of the proclamation. The people in the photo from the left are Joe and Bob, who worked for Health Education, That's Me, Vivian who was chairman of the West Virginia Cancer Society and Dr. H. who was the Director of the Department of Health. Of course, Governor Rockefeller sitting at the desk.

The headlines in the newspaper read "Pack and a half a day smoker heads the Great American Smokeout". Wish I knew where I could put my hands on that article right now. In addition to being involved with the Cancer Society, I worked for the State Health Department for 23 years. In the early years, anyone who smoked and that was more than 50% of the people, could smoke at their desk. There was no such thing as a non-smoking area.

Seemed like everyone smoked. Lucy and Desi smoked, (they didn't sleep in the same bed, but they smoked), Gomez, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, they all smoked. It was as natural as having dinner. Cigarette commercials and ads were spread all over the television and magazineads displaying a quality lifestyle with a cigarette.

When I was a little girl my parents bought candy cigarettes for me. Do you remember those? Some had bubble gum in the middle while others had a hard candy. Only Daddy smoked while I was growing up. I can remember Daddy having men's church meetings at the house and everyone smoked.

One thing I don't understand about the Surgeon General. If there is an epidemic he calls for a quarantine, if a water well is found to be contaminated he would close the well. Since cigarette smoking has been determined to cause health risks, why has he not banned cigarette? (I think we all know that answer). Instead of spending millions of tax payers dollars on publicizing the dangers of smoking, why can't those dollars directly to the smoker in the form of stop smoking aids?

Today I am going to participate in the Great American Smokeout. If you smoke, will you join me?


Susie said...

I've never smoked, but have lost two very good friends to lung cancer from smoking.
I understand it is very difficult to stop.

Jennifer said...

I don't smoke, but I'm a wonderful cheerleader...and I'm behind you!! (((HUGS)))

SnoopMurph said...

Hi Linda,

It must be incredibly difficult to give up smoking. While I have never been a smoker, my grandmother died of emphysema from smoking and she only quit because she had to, not because she wanted to.

I definitely support you and I think the Smokeout is a great idea.

Theresa said...

I am an anti-smoker- never smoke in my life and can't stand the smell of it. So it is hard for me the pains that people have to go through to stop.

I know my aunt who had lung cancer smoked up to the week that she died. She knew the ciagrettes would shorten her already shorten life, but did it anyway. Yes there should be a quarentine on those death traps.

Hopefully you can cut down to two, then one, then none a day.

on a better note, interesting life you lead being there for the signing of the first Smoke Out.

Gill said...

I know just how difficult it is to give up, my husband gave up a couple of years ago after *numerous* attempts (patches, pills, gum, hypnosis....) he eventually just made up his mind and quit. He now chews a LOT of gum instead LOL!