My oldest brother, only 61 years old, has been stricken with lung cancer. He taught me how to play baseball. He learned to smoke from my grandfather who pretty much taught him how to build a house. He died from emphysema at age 72. They were close, he died when I was only 12. One would think that would be enough to scare him from smoking anymore, but no, it did not. After smoking for some 45 years or so, and a few attempts to quit, he finally, finally quit for good 2 years ago. But it was too little, too late. In November of last year, he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and may have only to the end of this year.
We live about 2000 miles apart. We were both heavily involved in competition water skiing when we were younger. He moved to TN, I moved to CA. Neither of us are involved with water skiing any more. My politics went left, his went right. But he's still my brother. I was able to see him for the 1st time in 5 years last month, presumably the last. It was very sad to see him struggling to get up the stairs to the beach that we used to run up and down on as kids.
As Jerry Remy pointed out, I won't preach to anyone who already smokes. They have heard it all before. But for the impresssionable younger ones, please don't start. Smoking tobacco does nothing for you except make you want to smoke another one. That's what big tobacco wants. Maybe 50 years ago, it seemed to be cool to be smoking, but we know much more now.
Please talk to your kids at an early age about smoking. Teenagers may want as much autonomy as possible from parents, but at the same time, they learn more from us than we realize.
Please donate whatever you are able to a very worthy cause.