3 years ago
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
MTL's uncle died this last weekend. He had terminal lung cancer, the result of a lifetime of smoking, and he died in his sister's arms, coughing up blood as his lungs hemorrhaged and his life drained away.
I can't get the image my imagination has created out of my head.
Michigan went Smoke Free this last Saturday, ironically enough the same day MTL's uncle passed away. This means that (most) public buildings; including restaurants, hotels, and bars; are now entirely smoke free. No more smoking section, no more clouds of carcinogens floating through the supposedly non-smoking section, no more eyes burning nose dripping lungs aching foulness driving me out of establishments in search of fresh air.
I couldn't have been happier when I saw a hand-drawn sign saying "Now Smoke Free" on the door of the restaurant where I ate Saturday night.
I'll admit to having smoked occasionally in college. It was rare, it was always in social situations, and I'm not sure I ever finished an entire cigarette. Finally, when I realized that hey, I don't LIKE smoking and doing so just because someone else is smoking is, well, STUPID, I stopped doing even that much.
As for those who say the law takes away their personal rights? Well, what about my personal right not to breathe in the smoke they've chosen to inhale? Just because they're THEIR cigarettes doesn't mean the smoke magically knows not to enter MY lungs.
I have friends who smoke. I love my friends. I hate those cigarettes. I hate the smell. I hate the secondhand smoke. And while I have always been one of those annoying (to smokers) people who make snarky comments about cigarettes being bad for your health, now I'm not just snarky.
I understand the addiction aspect. I do. But now I know, much more up close and personally, with enough of the graphic reality to make me shudder, what may very well lie in store for my loved ones who smoke.
And when I think that every time they light up one of those cancer sticks, they are willingly running the risk of one day lying on a bed, spewing life from their mouths and noses every time their shredded lungs convulse, leaving the nightmare memory of agony and blood and helplessness behind for those who loved them...
Yeah. I'm angry.
Because it's suicide. Slow suicide, but suicide nonetheless.