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Don't let yourself die like my father did

March 18, 2006|By Randy A. Breeden / Williamsport

I would first like to say congratulations to all who have kicked the tobacco addiction. These same congratulations go out to all who never used tobacco; your wisdom is to be admired. I read with interest of the caller to "You Said It" who felt he must blow his second- hand smoke into the faces of others.

I find this mentality to be a very sad one. Those you are blowing smoke on will be the very ones reading your obituary. Diseases related to the use of tobacco are perhaps some of the most debilitating illnesses imaginable.

In many cases, the disease process will continue for years before leading to death. This is of course unless you escape the prerequisites of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), emphysema and instead get lung cancer in the very beginning. In this case, your passing will be quicker but no less painful.

The next time you blow your smoke around, know this: Lung cancer is a leading cause of death. Tobacco use can lead to cancer and other diseases.

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While we are talking "rights" though, just when did you decide that your right to smoke should take priority over your other, more important rights? Those include: Your right to live a life without cancer, without an oxygen bottle as your companion and without waking in the middle of the night, unable to breathe. What about your right to spend your last days without a suction bottle clearing the cancer's fluid from your lungs. We all have many rights but the most important one is our right to life. This is the time we are given to appreciate the world we have and those who support and love us.

From this perspective, you must ask yourself just how much a minute of your life is worth - $1, $50, $100 or more? The truth is, a minute of life is priceless, yet each and every day many will sell their lives to big tobacco for mere pennies. This in turn leaves their families and loved ones with a very lonely loss, over something as senseless as an addiction to tobacco.

The greatest man I ever knew died from tobacco-related disease. The last 15 or more years of his life were spent battling COPD and emphysema. The final 10 years or so were spent in and out of ambulances and the hospital on a weekly basis.

Late one evening at Washington County Hospital, this wonderful man, my father, passed away. The impact of his passing went much further though. It left a wife of 50 years lost and heartbroken. She was my mother and though many did all they could to lift her up, a few years later her life's light quietly went out as well.

You could say that when tobacco took her reason for living, she became an innocent victim of the trickle-down effect, though she herself was not a tobacco user. The memories are never enough compensation for the senseless loss of a life.

If you're still blowing that smoke, it's your choice. To continue blowing it will certainly mean heartbreak for those you leave behind upon your premature death from tobacco use. Life is fragile and when it ends there are no second chances in this world.

You have the chance to make the most important decision in your life by calling 240-420-1796. Let them know you have decided that living takes priority over your addiction. What they have to offer is free. Let them know that you wish to stop smoking for life. The program is staffed by some of the greatest people you'll ever meet. I guess you could say they're heroes in that they help save lives like yours and mine every day.

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