Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Huff puff and I'll blow your lungs away

That little stick of death. More than twenty years ago, I used to think nothing of it when the people around me used to puff from this white little stick – not more than 3-4 inches long. On Sunday gatherings as the kids (i.e., my cousins and I) played around the pool, dad and the rest of my uncles would chat over barbecue, each with their white stick – puffing away circles of white smoke. Funny how na├»ve one can be as a child. Little did I know that I was not only being exposed to second hand smoke, but also my mom and brothers were equal victims to this insidious object – smaller than pencil, but potent like a sword. I remained ignorant until one day I learned that smoking causes cancer and cancer kills. Yes, that day was more than 10 – 15 years, since I first remember my dad smoking. From that day forward, everyone in my immediate family tried to convince my dad to stop smoking. It was a persistent battle cry from all of my siblings. Dad, please stop smoking. To his credit, he even tried hypnosis and stop for a while. Of course, he relapsed, but he eventually decided to stop “cold turkey” by the time he was in his late 30s. Perhaps at that time, we didn’t really understand why he would smoke. Why would someone who is married with kids, would want to take something that will eventually kill him? We just didn’t understand the power of being addicted to nicotine. Every now and then when I window shop at our outdoor mall, I am puzzled at how some couples choose to smoke together. Is it because they want to die together? Okay, a bit extreme, but I often wonder if one partner started smoking first, and got the other partner addicted. Is it that misery loves company or that it’s more fun when two puff together? Perhaps it’s the latter when I consider that one of my aunts who married my dad’s brother never smoked when she was single, and only began to smoke after getting married and taking care of two kids. Nevertheless, despite having more cynicism in tow and knowledge of smoking’s harmful consequences, I ask myself: is it a question of if or when my dad gets lung cancer? I do hope that I don’t have to face that question, but understand that I must be realistic in finding the answer.

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