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Light Up and Kiss Those Healthy Bones Good-Bye!

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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.

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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.