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Quitting Smoking For Your Family (and Yourself!)

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I smoked as a child until I finally left home for college. Before you start calling DFS on my parents retroactively, let me explain. I grew up with a smoker in the house. I know it affected my health tremendously. I have allergies, and every time I get a cold, it turns into bronchitis and I get asthmatic. I am considered the "'pain in the ass" as my Dad says, because among other stories, one time my family all came to visit me, and I presented the smokers (my Dad, brother and sister) with a book from the American Lung Association, "Seven Steps to A Smoke-free Life."

I am vigilant and perhaps a bit preachy, but only because I love my family. I also believe that if you have a problem, you need to attack it with everything you've got until it's not a problem anymore (there's that preachiness I mentioned). Life is too short to waste time ruining your health needlessly. In most cases, your family wants you around for the long haul and wants you to be as healthy as you can be. (Stepping down off soap box now.)

It was easy enough for me to quit smoking; I moved away. But for people like my mom, moving away is not an option. She has lived with a smoker for 45 years, and it pains me to think of how it has impacted her health.

So this weekend my family and I are heading to my hometown to visit my parents. My Dad was in the hospital earlier this summer with pneumonia. He has a heart condition, and has had a valve replacement and bypass surgery. The last time I saw him, just before he went into the hospital, I got on his case about quitting smoking. Part of me says, "He's older, let him be, it's his life." The other part says, "It's stupid, he's hurting himself and Mom by continuing to smoke, he should quit." I don't know if he quit after his stay in the hospital, I haven't asked, because I assume he is smoking again. Still, I'm concerned what my reaction will be when I see he's still smoking. I have a small hope he did quit. A small one.

I commend anyone who tries to quit. Quit every day/week/month/year if you have to, until it sticks.

Are you thinking of quitting smoking?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.