From a very young age, probably when I was still in the womb, my father instilled in me the adverse effects on cigarette smoking on the body. When I was in elementary school, I recall buying a box of candy cigarettes at the local 7-11 store, and when my dad found out, he took them from me and threw them away. When I was of age, yet still living at home, if I had been out with friends at a local bar or party, my dad would make me put my clothes in the attic or hang them outside when I got home so that the smoky smell in them would dissipate. He was vehemently opposed to cigarettes, most notably because he had a dad who smoked and suffered the repercussions, as well as a father-in-law who smoked. Also, being a physician specializing in diseases of the chest presumably had a lot to do with it.
Day in and day out, he would see patient after patient presenting with a host of problems all related to their habitual love affair with cigarettes. One day, when I was around eight years old, I noticed a huge bucket in our garage with a tightly-sealed lid on it. When I asked my dad what was in it, he cautioned me, “Do you really want to know?” Always the curious and inquisitive soul, I could not resist seeing what exciting surprises rested within the container.
After putting on a rubber surgical glove, he slowly pried open the lid, put his hand inside the container and pulled up for me to see what looked like, well, I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that it was gross. And wet. And slimy. When he told me it was the heart, lungs, and trachea of a deceased individual who had died of pulmonary disease, the result of years of smoking, I began to gag, but then realized, “Cool! I now have something incredible to bring to show and tell tomorrow!” (And I did bring it in! After I pontificated about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking on one’s lungs by virtue of actually showing my fellow classmates “a dead guy’s gross lungs,” I am confident that many of those kids grew up without a desire to smoke.)
It’s no surprise. Smoking wreaks havoc on the lungs.