secondhand smoke


This Thursday, November 20th, is the American Cancer Society’s annual “smokeout” with the stated goal being to encourage all people who smoke to quit for their own health as well as those they love.

As my father has only just recently passed away after a month long battle with stage four lung cancer, I am feeling particularly vehement that anyone I know should make this the year they quit smoking for good. And not just for their own sakes, but to protect their families and friends.

Having been at my dad’s bedside those last hours, I can assure you that dying from lung cancer is not pretty. His lungs were choked with fluid that by the last day oozed in a continuous steam from his mouth having gurgled up his bronchial tubes and throat. The light brown mucus was flecked with dried blood and small chunks of a darker brown matter. When in the grips of a coughing spell, the phelgm would foam out of his nose and he would turn dark red with the futile effort of trying to clear his lungs. 

I can’t imagine dying as he did. But I should try because between him and other family members I have spent good chunks of my life inhaling their cast off smoke. My lungs have been bathed in the same carcinogens and I could just as easily be a victim of lung cancer as my Dad was.

And it’s not just in the air. Smoke clings to clothing and hair and furnishings. It seeps into walls and permeates carpeting. It finds its way into air ducts or filters through open windows. It hangs in the air, wafting its way into the breathing space of anyone who happens by whether they are indoors or out.

I am not mollified by those who “only smoke outdoors” or sit in the increasingly rare smoking areas. Air has no boundaries. 

The meme for today is to send this, or some other word, of the Great American Smokeout to someone you know who smokes. Thank you.