I was asked this question today as I sat at the counter of my favorite local restaurant. "Mr. Jerry" and I've had numerous conversations over the years, but today's question gave me pause. I admit to 'trying' it, unsuccessfully, which was a good thing. He's near 90 in age and said he never smoked, nor did he ever try. I shared with him two memories I had that had made a real impression on me. Both were associated with the educational setting.
I was in high school and the local American Cancer chapter set up a display in the hall opposite the main office. There was literature to take to read, at some point. However, on Monday they set up an experiment using two bottles to represent the lungs. Attached was a puffing cigarette. The display was to remain for the week. I went by the office every day that week to check it out. I was not the only one. It really made an impression to see the condition of those glass jars at week's end.
Mr. Sullivan was my high school English teacher. He had smoked for many years. My junior year he quit. He told the class he had calculated how much he was spending, robbing his family of special events and such. He also figured he'd be able to send his kids to college if he quit. And so he did.
The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.
With all the literature that points to the dangers of smoking, it's really alarming that so many people still put the "cancer" stick in their mouths. I am grateful for the "No Smoking" laws that are now in effect in most states. It was always difficult to enjoy dining out when smoke penetrated the partition dividing the Smoking from the Non-Smoking area.
I never wanted fire that close to my nose, but more importantly, I suffered from asthma as a child and continue to have asthma as an adult. For obvious reasons, smoking was never something I tried because I already had breathing difficulties.