Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was a whole different world then what we live in today. When I was a kid the last place I wanted to be was inside my house, regardless of the weather. There was a sport or activity for every condition. Baseball, stickball, wiffleball, and basketball all spring, summer, and fall. If it rained; fast pitch wiffleball under the overhang at Roosevelt. When the winter rolled in it was time for football, rain, snow, or minus 0 temps never mattered. And I can’t recall one day going by when I wasn’t on my bicycle.
That was the good, but there was also a bad side to growing up at that time. I grew up in a house where everyone smoked cigarettes and unlike today where most people go outside to smoke, back then nobody did. I remember Sunday dinners by my aunt’s house where the whole family would be together (including relatives from N.Y. all of whom smoked) and we would all be at the table and the very second some of the adults finished they would light up (while other were still eating), hell some smoked while they were eating (so fucking gross).
I never smoked in my life, and I’ve always been a bitch about it. I remember driving in the car with my mom (she would always smoke while driving) and I would always ask her not to and she would just ignore me (just the way it was then) so I would open the window regardless of how cold it was or hot it was and she would yell at me to close the window, then I would yell back for her to stop smoking. We would just go back and forth day in and day out.
Then there was the issue of her smoking while doing the laundry. So my clothes which are nice and clean from being washed, and fresh from hanging on the line outside to dry (back then that’s how most people dried the laundry) would smell like smoke because she smoked while folding them. Needless to say I learned how to do my own laundry at a very young age.
And finally the thing that drove me most crazy, she smoked while cooking. That was a constant argument that I always lost.
So for years my mom had a horrible cough, I would tell her if you quit smoking the cough would go away. Naturally she insisted the cough had nothing to do with smoking. These arguments went on for years, when the doctor told her she had emphysema she finally believed me and quit. They say it’s never too late to quit smoking and that is true, however if you wait until your lungs have an irreversible disease it’s like closing the barn door after the horses ran out.
So the time to quit smoking is now, don’t wait, not one more; quit now. The benefits of quitting begin within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, at that point you blood pressure begins to decrease, your heart rate will begin to drop, and the body temperature of your hands and feet will increase. At about 8 hours the levels of carbon monoxide in the blood drop to normal levels while the oxygen levels in the blood increase to normal levels. After 24 hours the risk of heart attack decreases, and at 48 hours nerve ending begin to regrow while the sense of taste and smell begin to improve. At 2 weeks circulation improves, walking becomes easier, lung function increases, and the worst of the nicotine withdrawals subsides. At the 1 month point you will see less coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath. When you get to the 1 year point your risk of heart disease is cut in half and at 5 years your risk of stroke is equal to that of someone who has never smoked.
A lot of smokers will tell me that smoking helps them relax. How can something that raises your blood pressure and heart rate help you relax. Oh yeah and it freakin’ stinks something awful. Did I mention you also look silly doing it?
Quit smoking…There is no benefit to smoking, it’s all bad…
Quit Smoking… It’s all good from that point forward…