“So I can’t run marathons—big deal, I never wanted to anyway.” Many times I encounter a smoker who claims that his smoking isn’t a real problem in his life. Sure, he can’t do vigorous activities, but generally he is able to meet life’s essential demands.
Unfortunately, many fail to consider that giving up strenuous activities today means possibly giving up essential capabilities in the future. Today, jogging may not be possible, but tomorrow, getting up stairs, walking, and eventually getting out of bed may be more than the smoker can handle.
Hundreds of thousands of smokers become permanently crippled every year by diseases like emphysema. Typically, the smoker was warned by his physician to quit smoking before the disease caused minor impairments. But even when this threat became a reality, the smoker failed to quit.
However, once a breathing impairment becomes evident, every day of smoking makes it progressively worse. It will get to the point where normal breathing becomes painful, then impossible. Day by day he must give up yet another essential activity.
Soon he becomes totally dependent on his family to carry on his responsibilities. Not only can’t he shovel snow, he can’t leave the house if the temperature drops below freezing. He can’t help prepare dinner, he hardly has the strength to chew it. And then one day breathing becomes impossible. His entire world becomes an oxygen tent, and death becomes his only way out. At this point, death is not an unwelcome alternative.
The dying patient may think back to when he made the comment “So I can’t jog. Big deal.” If he only knew then what he knows now, he would not have treated the subject so lightly. Unfortunately for him, it is too late to repair the damage.
You may feel that you have smoked so long that it is too late to quit now. But the odds are, you are not at this tragic point yet. If you quit, your odds of ever becoming this impaired are dramatically reduced. If you continue to smoke, well then every day this nightmarish existence becomes a closer possibility.
Consider what activities you can do now. They may seem insignificant or unimportant. But what will life really be like when you can no longer do them. If this type of life, or more accurately, slow death does not appeal to you, then NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
©1986. by Joel Spitzer
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