I’ve often said that I use my art to heal and to cope with the struggles of life.
I’ve also been knows to say that photography has taught me many a life lesson.
Welllllll….for this post I’m combining the two and using my art (and this blog) to teach a lesson and to cope with a life struggle.
Folks, I’m quitting smoking.
Don’t get too excited. I’m not. I love smoking. I’ve always had this romantic notion about the harsh pull, the smoke hitting the bottom of my lungs and the beauty of the smoke’s floating tendrils.
I’ll miss it. I’ll miss sitting outside on the porch swing with friends having deep conversations.
I’ll miss getting FIVE FREAKING MINUTES TO MYSELF WHEN MY CHILDREN ARE DRIVING ME UP THE WALLS.
I’ll miss using it as an excuse to have secret conversations.
I’ll miss all of it.
But my time has come and gone and since I’m thirty now I don’t heal from ailments the way I used to. My back hurts when I sit for too long. My knees ache. I don’t recover from a cold as fast as I used to. I can only imagine what my lungs look like.
So here are some facts (facts help me see the reality and the danger of smoking):
- More than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since 1964, including approximately 2.5 million deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
- On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, and 90% of lung cancer deaths among men and approximately 80% of lung cancer deaths among women are due to smoking.
- Smoking causes many other types of cancer, including cancers of the throat, mouth, nasal cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.
- Urea, a chemical compound that is a major component in urine, is used to add “flavor” to cigarettes.
- Smokers tend to develop more lines on their face at an earlier age than non-smokers. This often makes smokers look older than they really are.
- Cigarettes contain arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and 43 known carcinogens.
- Smoking affects how the immune system functions by causing oxidative stress. This in turn causes DNA mutation, setting the stage for cancer and heart disease. Oxidative stress is also thought to be a contributor to the aging process. Antioxidants are nature’s way of combating the damage oxidative stress causes to the body’s cells. Smokers have less antioxidants in their blood than nonsmokers.
- COPD-related deaths are also primarily caused by smoking, with 90% of these deaths traced back to cigarettes.
- Smoking can cause and is strongly correlated with emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer of the mouth, larynx and esophagus.
Wish me luck peons. I go about this level headed but still holding to the romantic notion of smoking.
It may take me a while to completely quit, BUT for the first time since I started smoking I actually want to quit. And for me that is a HUGE step. I want to be around for a long time. I have the most amazing life; The most coveted man, the best, most well behaved children, an awesome job, top notch friends, my farm, my blog and my garden. I am too selfish to give it all up.
Good luck to all who are fighting the good fight as well.