This letter is directed to all of those who smoke, but mostly to those who are considering taking up the habit and are not yet hooked. Most of the people who are already actively smoking, are in some form of denial as to what it will do to their health. They hang their hat on the premise that they will be one of the lucky ones that will get away with it. I am here to tell you, very few people do. For those contemplating starting smoking these are the facts.
You are starting a habit that has nothing to offer you but heartaches down the road. At first it will seem pleasurable but slowly it will take over your mind and you will incessantly crave this drug. In today's society you will become a social outcast, relegated to standing outside your workplace, restaurants, bars or any public places while getting your fix with a few others with the same addiction. Yes, it is an addiction that is very hard to quit once you are hooked. You may say you can quit anytime you want too but that is not true for most people. Your teeth will discolor, your breath will stink and so will your clothes, your car and your home. You will make your family suffer the ill effects right along with you from second hand smoke. Unlike your friends who can choose to leave, they have to live with you.
Over time as you continue to smoke you will develop some side effects such as a hacking cough, shortness of breath and eventually a potential life ending disease. All of this twenty years before you should have to think about the end. The cost will not just be to your health and the health of your family, because over your lifetime your medical costs will eat away at your pocket book just like the addiction will eat away at your body. Hospitalizations, chemo and surgery are not cheap. Neither are funerals. Just to maintain the habit at today's prices can be over a hundred and fifty dollars a month. You all know how to multiply. Take that cost for a year and then take it for forty years. Add to that the medical costs and lost work time and you could buy a retirement home and a nice one at that. But then if you choose to smoke all of your life you're not going to need a retirement home are you?
Many of you will say it's my life, and my choice, and none of your business but there are reasons it is my business. First of all, your medical costs affect insurance prices for all of us. Secondly unless you are single and have no friends and family, your leaving this earth early will impact everyone who loves you. Look at your spouse and kids right now and think about what your leaving will do to them. The last reason is, I know from personal experience. I am one of the lucky ones who quit but I have lost loved ones who couldn't. You are a good person and lots of people need you in their lives. It takes all of us to make this world go around. We need your ideas, your input and contributions to society. Most of all however we need you at your healthy best and not feeling like an outcast. The tobacco companies hate people like me. They want you to buy their poison and get hooked on it and they care little about what it will do to you. They just want your money.
MIKE HOLST lives in Crosslake. He has been actively writing for the past nine years, both as a columnist and an author and has written 12 novels and published six of them.