Heart Disease and cancer are the top two causes of death for men of all ages and ethnicities. Smoking is a major risk factor for both of these diseases.
June is Men’s Health Month. Let us encourage the men in our lives to toss out tobacco!
Has your life been affected by cigarette smoking? Are you a former smoker? Did you quit for personal health reasons? How long did you smoke? Are you a current smoker? Do you know someone who died after years of smoking? We are always looking for new stories for our Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Blog. You NEVER know when your story could help someone else and encourage them to stop smoking. Send us your contact information below so we can tell YOUR story.
My most vivid memories of my grandfather smoking take me back to those long weekend trips to the farm in Mississippi. My grandfather smoked Camel cigarettes without the filter and he smoked the entire trip with the windows up. Needless to say there was no ventilation and the smoke was stifling. I remember how glad I was to reach our destination wondering how in the world my grandfather could stand it and then light up another one. As a result of smoking, my grandfather died of lung cancer in 1995, and I cannot help thinking that had he been able to kick the habit, we would still be enjoying those beautiful days on the farm together.
For nearly 25 years, I stood by and watched my dad smoke a pack of cigarettes every day. When I was a young child, I remember how much I used to hate the smell….the stench of Winston’s. That’s what my dad smoked. As I grew older and matured, I realized the harm it was not only doing to his body but also to our entire family. As kids, my two brothers and I used to race my dad down the street to see who was the fastest. When I played basketball (like every other child born and raised in Indiana), I wanted to play one-on-one pick-up games with him, but the negative effects from the cigarette smoking caused him to be exhausted after only a few minutes.
The days became months which later became years as I watched him slowly but surely dying from the tobacco. Yes, he tried to quit a few times, but the stresses of life caused him to return to his old habit. On August 22nd, 2006, my dad, James Sawyers, died of a massive sudden heart attack in our family home. It was a day I will always remember. It was a moment when I asked myself what I could have done to get him to quit smoking. Sometimes I think if I had been equipped with more information, such as the 1-800-QUIT-LINE, I could have better educated him about the benefits of being a nonsmoker, possibly convincing him to quit.
I know all too well the sobering impact of the nicotine addiction, and I never want anyone to have to experience the loss of a loved one because of it. Smoking is truly harmful to everyone in our community, young and old. Smoking can kill.