What About Smoking?

December 3, 1998
By: Timothy W. Shire

This morning as I was putting together the criteria for a good Christmas gift, I thought about all the Christmas gifts I have received and those that I remember. The one gift that causes me the most anguish was the year my mother, who had begun smoking when she was in grade six, announced that as a Christmas gift, she was going to quit, she said she was doing it for her grandchildren. She kept her promise and never looked back though she died of cancer fifteen years later.

If you are a smoker, my guess is that you too have considered quitting, not just once, but many many times. In fact the statistics show that most smokers quit seven times before they are actually able to successfully kick the "habit". Most smokers and nonsmokers alike are less then understanding of the forces that compel a person to begin smoking and continue the use of tobacco.

In my years as a principal and high school counsellor I have worked with alcoholics, drug addicts, sexual abuse victims and people suffering from bereavement and none of those problems are as difficult as dealing with smoking. None of those problems result in so many deaths world wide, deaths that are preventable and none of those problems are as miss-understood as smoking.

If you are an alcoholic or a drug addict you could and can, overcome your addiction, one way or another, but if you are a smoker, both you and others do not consider it as serious, yet the chances of you being able to end your addiction to nicotine are lower and the chances of the drug and side affects causing a definite shortening of your life, are far greater.

The first thing we all must do, smokers and nonsmokers alike, is realise that the use of tobacco is not a take it or leave it chemical. It is highly addictive, it is highly dangerous and will lead to the smoker's death. Of course the best deal would be for people to never start smoking in the first place and to that end I think it is time we quit pussy footing around and put tobacco where it belongs, in the controlled substances category and we must drastically reduce its availability Not to make things hard on those people who are already addicted, but to prevent others from joining in the dependency on the substance. I believe that all tobacco products should be removed from all retail outlets of every kind and placed only for sale in Liquor Board Stores and Liquor outlets where the age of the purchaser is strictly controlled. Alcohol has been controlled throughout the history of this country and yet it poses no similar threat to society as does tobacco products. (Drug abuse amounts to one tenth of those people who die from alcohol related causes, while tobacco accounts for six times more annual deaths then alcohol)

For those of you who are smoking, quit blaming yourself and quit making up excuses for smoking. Neither of those activities are constructive for you. You have a right to smoke, as long as it does not affect other people, it is your life, but if you want to quit, look for a solution, not an excuse not to quit. There are a lot of routes to a solution to help people quit smoking and you can make use of this tool, the Internet, to help you find the best solution for you. Bishops University has a great site dealing with smoking and some of the facts you should know about quitting. Blair Price has put together a great page about quitting smoking, he was a heavy smoker for twenty-five years and offers some help to people wanting to quit. There are many sites like this one dealing with some of the physical and emotional affects of the dependency and how to deal with them. But Dr. Robert Shubinski a practicing medical doctor and psychiatrist has perhaps the best page on quitting smoking.

But don't stop with these few. I did a search for all the nonsmoking and related sites and came up with a big list, so to save you time just click here and you will have a complete search list to work from and do your research into smoking. I used "Metafind" to compile this list of sites.

So, why not give all those who love you, a gift that will last for years and years, give your family your assurance that you are about to quit smoking, It will cost you far more then any material gift you can give them, but it will be worth more to you and to them, then anything you could ever buy.

And, one last little thing to think about, if you go to this page you will see a tragic list of all those people in entertainment who we have loved and lost to smoking.