I started smoking in vitro.

I started smoking in vitro. Not by choice mind you. My mom was a product of her time. At birth I weighted 6lbs 2 oz., the bigger of the two babies she had. (My sister was a little over 5lbs.)

As long as I can remember, everyone smoked. It was rare to go over someone’s house and find non-smokers there. There were cigarettes on the coffee table, ladies carried fashionable cigarette cases and men had them ensconced in their shirt pockets. As kids, my cousins and I played among the cloud of card playing, cigarette smokers and inhaled deeply. We didn’t think much about second hand smoke – it was everyday smoke: our parents and their friends smoked in their cars, their house, restaurants, bars – everywhere but church (except in the parking lot right before and after.)

As a kid, you didn’t dare tell a smoker not to smoke. You would be smacked or reprimanded at best. I remember being told to shut up. I tried putting a pillow over my head to breathe into while my parents were driving with the windows up while smoking. I wonder now if I reeked of smoke when I was anywhere in the vicinity of a non-smoker. I’m sure I did but no one said anything to me.

Fast forward to high school – stupid enough to try smoking even though I hated it my whole life. It didn’t appeal to me much. Thank God.

Jump forward to college - tried it again Double stupid. Still didn’t appeal to me. I am so lucky I didn’t get hooked. I remember someone wrinkling their nose at me.  It bothered me. It was 1984 and a lot of people smoked back then. I actually bought a carton of cigarettes. I threw them away. I had an angel on my shoulder.

Turning point of my life – I don’t remember the exact date but it was May, 1986. My father suffered a massive stroke. My sister quit smoking that day. I am so proud of her. We didn’t really understand how at 51 he could have gotten sick when he was in such good health (so we thought.) He started smoking in the Navy – the recruits got free cigarettes as part of their service. How nice. My dad was slightly overweight, heavy smoker, no exercise – you get the picture.

He survives the stroke. I would like to ask God why that happened. He suffered through two heart attacks after the initial stroke. I had the privilege of being the first responder for both. I have a lot of experience with 911. He dies April, 1987 one month before my college graduation. He was 52 years old.

I am the same age as my dad was when he had the stroke. Here’s the list of relatives and friends who have all died from smoking related diseases: my father, my mother, my paternal and maternal uncles, my father-in-law and my good friends Mr. Lionel, Ms. Fran and Ms. Joann. The only older relatives I have left are my sister, my aunt and two aunts by marriage (all non-smokers.) A bit of me goes crazy every time I see someone light up. I die a bit more inside.

 I especially hate e-cigarettes which is the tobacco companies’ way of killing the new generation. Let’s talk about that for a minute. In case you don’t know what this is, e-cigarette (vaping) allows one to vaporize nicotine or whatever else you put into the vaporizer. Here is a picture of one type. Notice the beautiful colors! Next to it is another type – more “manly”:


I found a great site: www.stillblowingsmoke.org. Here’s just some of the fun facts on there:

Popcorn lung?
Sounds delicious.

The official name of this irreversible, life-threatening lung disease is bronchiolitis obliterans. But it’s called “Popcorn Lung” after a group of former employees at a microwave popcorn factory developed the condition. The cause was diacetyl, the chemical responsible for the buttery flavor in the popcorn. It’s safe to eat, but awful for the lungs when inhaled.

What does this have to do with vaping? Diacetyl (along with its similarly dangerous cousins 2, 3-pentanedione and acetoin) lurks in many popular flavors of e-liquid. And it’s not just the obvious buttery suspects like cheesecake or caramel flavors—it’s also been found in fruity flavors like Watermelon, Pomegranate, and Cherry Crush.

Here’s some more:

  1. E-cig vapor can contain even more particles than tobacco smoke.
  2. Vaping causes as much short-term inflammation in your lungs as regular cigarettes. Nicotine-free vapor may cause even more.
  3. Antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria are harder to kill after being exposed to the particles in e-cig vapor. And another study found that e-cig aerosol decreases immune system response, and increases susceptibility of flu and pneumonia in mice

As if the above info was not enough - fun facts about nicotine (yes – the stuff found in e-cigs):

  1. Lots of people think of nicotine as fairly harmless, aside from the whole as-addictive-as-heroin thing. But it can cause plenty of health problems all on its own.
  2. Nicotine slows the production of bone-producing cells called osteoblasts.  This prolongs healing when bones are broken.
  3. Contributes to the formation of plaques that lead to heart disease.
  4. There’s A LOT more – go to the website.  

Second hand Vap Smoke – what you are doing to those around you:

Ever see someone puffing on an e-cigarette in a place where smoking isn’t allowed, only to be told, “Chill, it’s only harmless water vapor.”? But in fact, it’s not water, it’s not vapor, and it’s not harmless. Let’s get a little nerdy and find out why.

First off: the vapor thing. If you think back to high school science class, you might recall that vapor is the gaseous state of a substance. But e-cigs actually emit an aerosol, which is a suspension of particles within a gas. Why does that matter? Because your lungs and small particles are not friends. They can cause irritation and all sorts of respiratory problems.

Next: “water.” Yeah, there’s some H2O. But there is also propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, liquid carriers for the nicotine. They’re classified as safe by the FDA—if you just plan on eating them. Breathing them is a whole other story. Inhaling these chemicals can mess with your airways and even cause an asthma attack in children.

So with all that info, calling it “harmless” doesn’t work. To quote The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I live in fear my kids might smoke someday. I couldn’t bear a life without them. I am so thankful my husband quit before we married. Maybe telling him I wouldn’t marry a smoker was a good incentive. You will have to ask him.

If someone comes to my studio and they are a smoker, I won’t sign them up. At first they don’t believe me. I care more about the person then the money. “Quit first”, I say, “then exercise.” To date, over a period of 11 years I have turned away 11 cigarette smokers and 1 cigar smoker. None of them have come back. I hope they’ve quit. I pray they quit.

If you are a smoker, please stop. Nicotine is a bitch and the cigarette companies work on new ways to make their product more addictive every day. Love yourself and those around you. Someone who loves you is praying that you do. Take care of yourself before it’s too late.

If you are someone who doesn’t smoke and you love someone that does, please forward a copy of this article to them. I hope it helps.