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December 10, 2005

Seems to me the cigarette manufacturers are still doing all they legally can to encourage young folks to smoke their products, even though it has been conclusively shown to cause cancer, one of the worst kind. Remember those cigarette ads we used to see in the Sunday newspapers, magazines, and on TV and on the radio? Those have all disappeared, as ordered by the dear old U.S. government, but we still see and hear reminders of how great cigarettes taste, to some people. Young people are being wooed because they are the smokers of the future. If you have relatives or friends, or just passing acquaintances, who may be tempted to take up the filthy habit, tell them what you have learned the hard way and urge them not to take up the habit. Some cigarette manufacturers have chosen to become warning beacons themselves, but they leave me wondering why they urge boys and girls not to take up the habit but they continue to make their killing product, almost flaunting it. Wish I had a nickel back for every pack of cigarettes I have smoked.

My personal experience may be of some interest. One December afternoon, I came home, exhausted from accompanying several family members on a Christmas shopping expedition. I had been a smoker for at least 25 years and had reached a level of two packs per day, plus an occasional pipe with aromatic tobacco which I really enjoyed. I had a light cold, or an allergy–something that made me sneeze and cough quite a bit. I reached for another cigarette when all of a sudden I wondered to myself, "Why am I doing this?" I thought I could quit anytime I was ready, and my two little daughters, my wife and my mother thought it was time for me to quit. I knew we had a church wedding to attend that weekend, plus Sunday school and church, then NFL football games to watch, and desk work at the PDJ coming up. So I thought I could stop for at least those two days. One thing led to another, and I abstained for ten days, without telling anyone. I ate Delicious Apples in the interim.

So it went each day. Finally, after convincing myself that a habit of 25 years was ended, I told the family and we all enjoyed a success story like that. I am advocating a complete stoppage, cold turkey. It's still working, 40 years later, and I am at least partially indebted to Pam Malzahn and David Sewell for having their wedding in a church, where I could not reach for another cigarette. Makes me sick to think about it now. But, here's wishing a happy anniversary to Pam and David. I remember it each year.