A Firsthand Experience with Secondhand Smoke

Published by Tobacco Stops With Me on September 19, 2022

After losing both of her parents due to health complications from smoking, Jane shared her experience with us to discourage others from continuing to smoke.

“Growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, smoking was common, and even “stylish.” Card clubs, church meetings and nearly every family had more than one smoker in it — no one objected if you lit up a cigarette. Asthma and respiratory issues weren’t addressed because that’s when Big Tobacco was pushing smoking in every media outlet, and TV was the best place to convince an audience that it was not just a habit, but a lifestyle.

“Both of my parents, many family members and other adults such as teachers and church leaders smoked cigarettes, so I was around it constantly and hated it. Our house, our clothes, everything smelled like tobacco smoke.”

Then, scientists and medical experts began to research the relationship between smoking and the high numbers of deaths from various cancers, discovering strong links for all respiratory diseases. Once I was in college and away from home, I realized it had triggered many health issues that both my brother and I had.

It wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I was brave enough to tell my parents they couldn’t smoke in my house. Despite that, they didn’t quit smoking. My dad and his sister both died from pancreatic and liver cancers in their early 60s. My mom, who began smoking at age 15, didn’t quit until she had been diagnosed with emphysema and lung cancer in her mid-80s. I cared for her the last few months of her life.

If people saw the damage firsthand, it would change their view of smoking and vaping! The body is rejecting all the poison it’s fed while slowly killing the host. Their family members are left to watch and do what we can — but when it’s beyond the reach of medicine, it hurts everyone to know that person may have lived a longer and healthier life if they hadn’t smoked.

I am now in my 70s and still have multiple issues that stem from exposure to secondhand smoke throughout my childhood and young adulthood. It’s easier to avoid secondhand smoke than it used to be, and state and local laws prevent it far better now, but it’s still here. It’s deadly pollution!” – Jane T.

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