Friday, April 21, 2006


Many many many years ago, I was a smoker. As it turned out it was a very very VERY stupid thing for me to do. I should have known how awful it was for me the first time I inhaled because when the smoke hit my throat and my lungs, it hurt like hell! But no, I wanted to be grown-up and I bore the pain, convincing myself I would get over that as soon as I got used to smoking, which I intended to continue to do, no matter the pain. So, along with almost every one of my contemporary's, I smoked. I began with Chesterfield Cigarette's because my sister Gene smoked them and she seemed very sophisticated to me...and my best friend Alice smoked them and I admired her so very much so, Chesterfields became my cigarette of choice. "I'll have a pack of Chesterfields, please". I remember saying that as I bought that very first pack of cigarette's and really feeling extremely grown up and sophisticated. In truth, I felt none of those things deep inside. But buying cigarette's at the store gave me the 'feeling' of being grown up and sophisticated even if it was just in that moment, and then of course, I would feel that again every time I lit up.
Once I realized I was going to be a serious smoker, why then of course I had to get a cigarette lighter. Back in the day, The Zippo was the most popular lighter and everyone had one. I can still remember the smell of the lighter fluid....(I'm sure that was great for my lungs, too...)

There was a particular sound to the flipping open of the lighter top, and then the sound of the lighter 'lighting' up...a very distinct sound as you put your thumb on that roller thingy and made the lighter spark to flame. That's when you would get that combined smell of the lighter fluid and that first smell of the cigarette itself. There was a time when I thought that first whiff of a cigarette was the most delicious thing I could ever smell, and it happened each time I lit one up. That first puff...oh my...

Now, it makes me sick to smell any kind of smoke and it hurts my nose throat and lungs. Horribly. I mean I can feel the pain in my chest as I breath in any smoke...second hand, third hand, whatever. Even when someone in the car in front of me is smoking and I have my windows rolled up and the air conditioning on...I can smell that awful acrid odor and it hurts my nose and my throat and and my poor irreversably damaged lungs. It's true that living with the lung problems that I have has made me more sensitive to all sorts of noxious and toxic fumes, and as it turns out, these things are the worst things for me to be breathing. The chemicals that we used to use in my garden...we do not use them anymore. They could kill me. Smoke could kill me, too. See, I already had irreversable damage in my lungs though I didn't know it when I began to smoke. Damage caused by a severe illness when I was nine years old. It never occurred to me or anyone in my family that maybe it would not be a good thing for me to smoke. No one encouraged my smoking mind you, but no one suspected or knew that I was without a doubt bringing more damage to my lungs by the act of smoking. It just wasn't even a thought. We all lived in a kind of smokey haze created by the tobacco company's and the world of advertising. Sell Ciggies, you know?

Just look at some of the Advertising we were fed at that time....It was absolutely lovely to be a smoker. Everyone in the movies smoked, didn't they?.., I eventually moved on to Pall Mall's after a time. Non filtered--we didn't have filtered cigarettes when I started to smoke and not for quite a few years thereafter. And look at how appealing this Ad made smoking...

And this next Ad...well, these are just downright lies! No adverse effects. Right! Tell that to all the people lying in their graves, dead from Cancer & Emphesyma.

It's true, they didn't mention 'lungs' in this particular ad, but...I'm sure somewhere else in some other print advertising lungs were mentioned. This was way before the Surgeon General's warnings had to go on the sides of cigarette packages and on all advertising. In fact it was way before anyone even heard from the Surgeon General on these matters. This was back when you could smoke anywhere and everywhere, and we all did. Well, here's another example of the kind of adveretising that was done. Here was the movie star treatment. You too, can be glamorous. Isn't that attractive? It doesn't even look real, does it? And then we have his wife, too...Hmmmm. Never thought about that before. Reagan was in bed with Big Tobacco waaayyyy back then. Here's Reagan's then wife, Jane Wyman--that must have been some deal. Both the husband and the wife paid handsomely for advertising these things. I eventually swtched to Herbert Tareyton Cork Tipped Cigarettes... No, still not filtered...Well...
it's too long a story to tell you why I switched to Tareyton's except to say they were the least irritating to me and my body...
and eventually I added the Aqua Filter because that was supposed to take away whatever 'irritation' was left. (That's what I have in my mouth in my Profile picture. Never without a cigarette, even while playing pool....OY!).. I wanted to believe that switching to Tareyton's and using the Agua Filter was really protecting me from all the bad parts of smoking that we were now just beginning to hear about. I needed to believe this because I was completely and utterly addicted.

It is intertesting to note all the accoutrements that came with the act of smoking. The variety of lighters that were available to one...the at home special lighter...a lovely addition to any home.

The Beautiful Ronson. They were particularly lovely on your coffee table. And of course they made personal lighters, too.
And for both men and women. Then eventually we had the cheap disposable lighters, already filled with whatever it is they are filled with so you no longer had to buy lighter fluid. And when they ran out, you threw them away...just like an old dirty kleenex.....Let's make it real real easy for the smokers. There were also the cigarette package holders...some in leather, some very beautiful silver or gold cigerette cases...but the package holders were more practical. And then the ashtrays...all the lovely ashtrays in Hotels....and Nightclubs....
and Restaurants...

and they wanted you to steal these things because it was free great advertising for them...and I did steal them, as did everybody else!

And this is how my ashtrays at home looked...disgusting, beyond beliefbecause by the time I quit smoking I was going through four, yes 4 packs of cigarettes a day. Think of it this way...If I made a vest of the cigarettes I smoked in just about three weeks would have looked like this. Is that a scary enough picture for you? Well suppose you could look through this vest and see my lungs. Suppose you could actually see what all these cigarettes I smoked over years and years did to my lungs, and see that next to healthy lungs as well...Here it is. This is what it looks like. Is that scary enough for you? Well, it sure scares the hell out of me. No, my lungs don't look like that yet. But, they are on the way to looking like that. Plus, because of the other lung condition that I am dealing with, Bronchiectasis...(they go hand in hand quite often)...the future is not promising for me. Today I had a coughing fit and it really and truly scared the shit out of me. I had terrible trouble getting air in my lungs. I felt like I couldn't breath and that I was choking to death...very very scary, let me tell you.

I know you have all heard this before, one hundred million times. But I say it to you again, right here and now. If you smoke, stop. Today. Now. Stop smoking right this minute. This is a choice, I know. I chose to smoke when I smoked. Yes, we didn't now how horrible it was, but would that have kept me from smoking? I don't think so. Smoking kept the pain of my life down. The very act of breathing in, in that deep way, helped me to forget how much pain I was in. I understand that now. I understand the pleasure I use to feel in smoking, too. Do I wish I had never smoked? Yes! Am I sorry I smoked? You bet your ass I am! Was it very difficult to stop? Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes YES, almost impossible! But if I could stop smoking, anyone can. Am I really really glad I stopped smoking...I mean deep down really glad? YES! It is impossible for me to express to you how very very glad and deeply grateful I am that I stopped smoking when I did. I am a very lucky woman.

But know this: I haven't smoked for twelve years longer than I smoked. And still, I have a 'touch' of Emphesyma. Make no mistake here...This is dangerous dangerous shit, this smoking stuff. And further, if I hadn't stopped when I did, I would be dead and I wouldn't be able to write this and implore you to be really really caring and kind and good to your lungs. They are the only lungs you will ever have. Remember that when you are about to light up that next cigarette, please, please, please.

had this to say:

Wow, the two friends I mentioned yesterday and myself were talking about that very subject during our meeting. I don't smoke and have never even tried it. My mother, on the otherhand, is a three packer a day. Ugh. Gross.

Michele sent me, but you know I am here all the time. I will also send you pics off blog from Sunday!!!

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 2:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Bravo! I smoked for 30 years & regret ever doing it. There didn't use to be any negativity towards it & it just seemed refreshing. You did an excellent thing here, Naomi. If even 1 person will consider quitting smoking, it will have served its purpose. Quitting never gets easier than on this day. It will just be harder & harder to stop. And quite honestly, I don't miss smoking & it wasn't as terrible as I thought when I quit. But, I had a plan & I think that's the most important thing of all.
Anyways, as usual, I've rambled. My medicine is in full force, but like you, I feel so strongly about this subject.
Thank you tremendously for writing this.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 2:36:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

thank you again for this! as you know i gave up in december, but its still often a struggle.
just this morning i've been feeling that, "somtethings missing.... oh i want a cigarrette" feeling.

i wont give in to it of course, but reminder5s like this keep me strong.

take good care of you darling and i'm sorry about you coughing fit today.

beautiful pictures below. lovely cat. i will show his pictures to my fat boy to encourage him to work out a bit more too!

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 3:29:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow. I am so sorry you're lungs are a mess, Naomi. You of all people know my feelings on this subject (I was a smoker too, but when I say that a pack of cigarettes would last me so long they'd go stale, I'm not kidding. Even so, the very thought of it now nauseates me.)

I will DITTO everything you have said here, and for any of your comment readers who don't know my situation I will add: QUIT SMOKING, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR CHILDREN. My son was 8 when his dad died of lung cancer (at age 46). It's hard enough losing a parent, but when that is compounded with the ANGER of knowing that it didn't have to happen...

My son said in therapy recently, "I don't know if I can ever forgive my dad." Is that the legacy you'd want?

Bravo to you, Naomi. As Jane said... if ONE person quits as a result, you've done one family a great service.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 4:11:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a good post.
IN UK tobacco companies would advertise sporting events too. Now all tobacco advertinsing has been banned. We have a free health service. And although it does not specifically go straight to the Health Service all tobacco products(and alchol) are taxed very heavily.
I have never smoked. I couldn't do it... yes I tried once and waved the cig around thinking I looked good. But as I can not breath through my nose properly I couldn't do it. I am glad.
A very good post

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 4:14:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I smoked for 13 years, gave up 7 years ago.

What the hell was I thinking....I also have a damaged lung from Pneumonia when I was 14.

Best thing I ever did giving up.

The sooner it is completely bannedincluding the sale of tabacco products the better IMHO.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 5:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hmmm--Fortuitously, I fell in with friends in high school that thought smoking was very uncool--this was in the early 1970s when most high school kids still thought the opposite. It's great you quit. Any what you've written here is a good primer on not getting started.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 5:20:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Gel
had this to say:

Congrats to you for having quit. Terrific "Heart and Soul" (cue the music) post.
I never smoked but I know those who did and died from it, as most of us have known. Ironically, my current post is about something I did for the Infusion Center....

I understand about chemically sensitive being able to kill someone. I'm in that position for different medical reasons than you. Stay healthy Naomi. I'm so proud of you for stopping a lethal addiction (no matter how socially fashionable or acceptable at the time) and for your openness and courage in posting this.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 6:06:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for knocking my brains out. I'm a smoker too though not 3 packs a day. I do smoke but the most I do is a pack a day. Sometimes there are days when I don't feel like I smoke less than a pack or a pack for 2 days. I know this is not justifying my smoking and I should STOP! STOP! STOP!
Will do. Hope will get over it. When I can completely eliminate it from my system, you'll be the first to know.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 7:04:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Here, Here!!! And congratulations to you.

I used to be a two pack a day smoker. Now, I have not picked up a cigerette in more than 11 years.

My daughter smokes, and it pains me so much, since I know how difficult it is to quit.

Great visuals too, by the way!

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 8:05:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I grew up around smokers and absolutely hated it, especially during long car trips with 3 smokers. As a result, I never wanted to smoke.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 8:06:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Back again from Michele's this time.

Would be good if you blog today persuades even just one person to quit

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 10:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Great post, I had my last cigar in Dec 04 and I don't miss it at all. Though to be fair I was only an infrequent smoker, but wow, 80 a day. That was serious smoking, at todays prices over £20 a day or £7300 pa.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 11:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Even though everyone in my family smoked (so, I have been exposed to tons of second hand smoke) I luckily never took up the habit. I do ahve a lung condition though...maybe it was from the second hand smoke. It is so sad that so many have died (and are still dying) from this. I'm glad you quit. :)
Here from Michele's

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 11:19:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Great post Naomi. I never smoked (Thank God). I have always had asthma so that would not have been good at all.

You worked hard on this post and I hope that people will take it to heart to stop smoking.

I hope you don't have any more coughing spells. Scary!

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 11:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you for writing this post, at a time when I'm desperately trying to get a friend to stop smoking before she disappears under the hundreds of cigarettes she gets through every week. I'm going to send this to her and hope she pays attention. Your generation didn't know the health implications when you started smoking...mine do and so many of them are still playing roulette with their lives...I just don't understand!

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 11:47:00 AM PDT 

Blogger MaR
had this to say:

HI, dear Naomi! I am back, I am tanned, I am tired... but I am catching up a little bit, I feel I have sooo much to do and it is so much fun! I smoked for 10 years and stopped at age 30 when we decided to start a family. I cannot stand smoking. I will be back to read your entire post, now I am heading to bed...zzz

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 1:39:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Well done post. A cigarette has never touched my lips, but my hubby the musician often works in smoky bars and it worries me. I wish people would learn.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 1:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I have never smoked. I never even tried it, believe it or not. My mom and dad were serious smokers all their lives and I grew up house full of smoke. We were even in the car when they smoked with the windows up. It seriously grossed me out when they did that. My dad died of emphysema 3 years ago at the age of 65. My mom's brother just died 2 mos. ago from lung cancer. I always wonder what damage my lungs have sustained from spending the early part of my life living with smokers. Kudos to you for not smoking anymore. If you hadn't stoopped when you did, I doubt you would be here to share this with us. Thanks!

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 2:54:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

My mother died at 49 from lung cancer, there are days even now when I am really angry at her for smoking.
I used to BEG her to stop even as a young child to stop because I had allergies and every day for me spent with watering eyes and blowing my nose because of HER smoking around me all the time.
She died literally three WEEKS after diagnosis.
Smoking is a stupid stupid thing to do.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 4:30:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for the reminder on how devastating this habit can be.

I can remember as a teen ager in downtown San Francisco people handing out free samples - mini-packs - of cigarrets - we thought this was so cool. Glad I never picked up the habit.

Loved reading your 100 things.

Here from Michele's today - but a regular nonetheless.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 5:13:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

My Dad was a closet smoker for years. He thought no one knew. He was mistaken.

It led to a silent heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery, valve repair surgery, more other surgeries than I can shake a stick at, and a lifetime of regret that he did this to himself and to his family.

Not a day goes by that I don't curse whatever it was that made him start and kept him going. Not a day goes by that I'm not at least partially angry at this educated, thoughtful man's rank stupidity.

Needless to say, I don't smoke. Never have. Never will. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I knew something I did to myself caused damage to my family.

Thank you, Naomi, for writing so eloquently about it. I know it must have been difficult to write so personally. But you've helped your readers in doing this.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 6:48:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It's been a while since I've been by - and I'm wondering now, if it isn't for some particular reason that I should happen upon "The Hills" on this day to read this specific entry. You've had me thinking before, and you've succeeded once again.

Here from Michele's

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 7:16:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

AMEN!!! What a great post!! I think I will send the link to my FIL and SIL :)

Stopping by to say hello Michele sent me!!!

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 9:11:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm so glad you stopped, Naomi. I think its a shame... and a crime... the way smoking has been glamorized.

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 9:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for caring enough to share about your health woes that can be attributed to smoking. Thanks for warning others.
I have never been a smoker. I grew up with asthma, so smoking did not appeal to me. I grew out of my asthma, and only tried smoking once with a college friend of mine. It was so hitnious that I couldn't stand it. I ended up just holding the cig and waving it around as I talked and acted all sophisticated. It was silly fun, but I am thankful I did not decide to start smoking.
I'm am so glad you quit when you did!!

Friday, April 21, 2006 at 9:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great post! I remember saying to my ex-husband when we were younger, "You're 23 years old. Stop smoking now!" Now over 15 years later, I say the same thing with a different age and a shorter life expectancy. Imagine had he quit then.
I also remember my dad smoking for most of my childhood. I loved the smell of the burning paper and sulfer from the match when he first lit his cigarette, not knowing then what could happen. He's now 70 years old and has just been diagnosed with emphysema, although he quit 13 years ago.
Such a killer.
Great post.
Michle sent me tonight, but I would have come anyway!


Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 12:10:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Oh my God, Naomi, I had no idea you smoked four packs a day! Thank God you stopped years ago. My mother and grandmother both died of smoking-related cancer so my feelings on the subject are strong. I wish every pack of cigarettes had a $20 tax. It makes me crazy that so many young people are smoking today with all we know about it. And yet, I can see how smoking and the accoutrements that go with it could feel very cool. Those damn tobacco companies are peddling death.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 12:12:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Michele sent me this time, Naomi.

It sounds like you must have had difficulties--at least at times--growing up, Naomi. With your lungs damaged by disease at the tender age of 9 you must have had your activities curtailed somewhat. That's a real shame though obviously you've had quite a life since. Given that, it's amazing your body was able to withstand a 4 pack a day habit.

Smoking is weird. So many people start because they see others smoke--like you mentioned above--and others don't smoke for the same reason. I am one of the latter group. My mother smokes and seeing that while growing up was all the information I needed to stay the Hell away from tobacco.

I've never had a cigarette nor any other form of tobacco and I never will.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 12:47:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I was very lucky. When I was in the 7th grade my best friend stole a couple of his mom's cigarettes. We went out into a field and lit them up. Being to stupid to admit how awful they were we both tried to smoke our whole cigarette. Eventually we both turned green and I threw up. I have never had any desire to try one since

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 2:40:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Good for you. It's about time these tobacco companies copped it for sending so many people to early graves. You're really brave to share this with people.

Although I have to say, some of those lighters look absolutely beautiful. Oh well, perhaps you can use them to light candles?

Thanks for swinging by again today.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 3:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow... what an inspiration for all those out there who deny the damage that smoking is doing to their lungs and body, and also those around them. Love your work. (Michele sent me :):))

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 3:36:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Cheers! I showed my hubby your post so he will realize that it's not too late for him to quit.

Thanks for sharing that story.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 5:04:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

I stopped smoking about 20 years ago and I'm glad I did.

The "Stork Club" ashtray brings back memories.

Cheers from Michele today.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 5:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Damn right! I started smoking because "everyone" else did, it made me feel grown up, i liked all the accrourements and it was a great conversation starter - especially with boys! I never really enjoyed smoking, but I still did so for years.

Me & aggie agreed to give up the day we finished our honeymoon, and the moment I stepped into the airport ready to fly home was the moment i became a non-smoker.

i am now an ex-smoker, and find that the smoke really irritates me too. Thankfully it's nearly illegal to smoke in public enclosed spaces in the UK (not outside yet though), and less and less of my friends smoke now I don't live in the city anymore:-)

But i can't emphasise enough how much better I feel now than as a smoker. despite the progressing years:-) I'm baffled that they are still sold at all really. i'd make them prescription only drugs.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 5:50:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, thank you for sharing your hard learned lesson. I've never smoked, but my brother does. It always amazes me that he and I both grew up in the same house that hosted my Grandfather in his early days of lung cancer. PopPop was a former smoker that quit a long time before we'd discover the damange that had been already done. I was 11. Scott was 7. I remember the fear in my brother after our Grandfather moved in with our uncle. My parents had to buy him a new mattress because he was terrified he'd 'catch cancer germs' by sleeping where PopPop slept. As he got older he better understood what had happened -- yet it didn't stop his impetuous "need to fit in"/"won't happen to me" self from starting up.

I know quitting isn't easy. My husband smoked and quit before I met him. Yet he still, to this day, has the habit of chewing on toothpicks and/or straws when driving long distances. It amazes me what a hold such a thing can have on a person. I admire you for quitting and even more so for sharing your story with the hope of helping another find their way out. Thanks so much for that.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 6:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Never smoked in my life. However most of my family does, so I don't know how I was spared.
Here via Michele. Thanks for coming by earlier.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 6:41:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great post, Naomi! Bravo!
Congrats to you for having quit.
Everybody must read this.
I never smoked. But when I was a teenager I try one day to smoke,
because almost everyone else did
but fortunately I did not because I hated the taste. Luck me!
So interesting this post because you also show all the smoke stuff, cigarette's ads, cigarette lighter, special lighter and so one. The photo of a vest full of cigarettes is impressive and awesome! I send this photo to my daughter and son with a legend: "Hurry up! It's time to quit cigarettes"!
Thank you for this post, Naomi!
Have a happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 9:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for sharing that. Wow! FOUR packs a day!
But in "the old days", yeah, no one really knew (except the tobacco companies) about the terrible damage it could do. There used to be no age limit to buy cigarettes. My mom and dad remember promoters passing them out FREE on street corners, especially to young people.
My husband got free cigarettes with his rations when he was in the Army.
When I was a kid, you just found a machine dispenser and kept a watch out that no adult was looking. I really think that was a ploy, too, to make sure kids had access to get hooked.
Yes, people should take respnsibility for their own actions, but if anyone has not seen "The Insider", it will blow your mind how truly evil and greedy the tobacco companies are.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 10:04:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Good post. More powerful when an ex-smoker makes the comments - otherwise it can all sound self-righteous.

Theres a lot of culture jamming around cigarettes now, but most of the anti smoking adverts probably appeal more to non smokers than smokers, so I suspect it doesnt really work. When I was in Saudi, they had some overt anti smoking adverts using real - looking marlboro cowboys. I suspect it was a combination of 'look at those Americans, and dont smoke.' They even put it onto postage stamps.

Here's an anglicised version of the sort of ads they used to run.

And here today via Michele's!


Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 12:37:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh, wonderful post. I'm young enough that smoking had already been known to be harmful. I did try it. But I remember waking up with the smell one morning and I never tried it again. What I don't understand is when I see teenagers smoking. Do they not understand it doesn't make them look cool just incredibly stupid?

Here from Michele's today although I've come here before.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 1:32:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Eek. Not sure what to say. Glad you're not still smoking 4 packs a day! Here from Michele's

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 2:03:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I totally agree with you. I smoked from the time I was about 14 (yes, I know...too young) until I was about 19 and it was really hard to quit. But I sure am glad that I did.

Recently, we were at the Museum of TV and Radio and watched a reel of old commercials. My 14 year old daughter could not get over the cigarette commercials. ("Kool Cigarettes - Fresh as a Fallen Snow!" Yeah right!) And still there are people opposed to non-smoking restaurants and workplaces. I'll never understand it!

Here via Michele's. Hope you're having a great day!

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 2:21:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Back again via Michele. Oh, the part I didn't mention when I stopped by before... I am a Respiratory Therapist... so all these people who do smoke... it was always job security for me ;) I would so much RATHER be out of a job!!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 2:55:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am so very lucky that I never started to smoke. Very lucky indeed. But I do admit to being temptd by some of the pretty lighters out there. I haven't succombed to that temptation yet but it has been difficult. Some as you pointed out are incredible works of art.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 3:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great post! My mom's been smoking for over 30 years& I've tried everything to get her to stop. My hubby is a smoker, too & it's just gross. I'm sending both of them a copy of this post. Maybe it will help them kick the habit for good.
Congrats to you for being smoke-free for so long. It really is inspiring!

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 3:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow. This was a thought-provoking post. I started smoking when I was 10 or 11 years old. By the time I was 13, I would go to the park w/my friends and smoke Marlboro Red. ICK. The mere thought of it. I was a casual smoker through my teens and into my twenties. By my late twenties I'd switched to Marlboro Ultra lights. I finally stopped when I turned 30. My father smokes 2+ packs a day, and refuses to stop. I worry about him, and I worry about my daughter's exposure to secondhand smoke, courtesy of my husband. Thank you for this post, here via Michele today as always.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 7:44:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi...Michele sent me.

Your blog is fascinating...I'll be back!

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 7:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I've never smoked tobacco and yet my lungs are damaged by second hand smoke. Like you, I can't go places where people smoke because it's too dangerous for me. My asthma gets horribly aggrivated when there is smoke around.

I know that Californians think that they smoke less and have more anit-smoking laws than anywhere else, but in my city you can't smoke ANYWHERE but on your own private property. No smoking in any public building including stores and restaurants and bars, and it's been like this for at least 15 years. And now we've recently passed a no smoking in ANY public area, so people can't stand in front of office buildings and smoke, or in front of hospitals, or in parks or anywhere else except their own yards.

This has made a huge difference in my quality of life, because I'm no longer so housebound because of other people's filthy smoking habit.

Good for you for quitting, and even better for writing so eloquently about it. You're such a mensch!

Here from Michele

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 7:57:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What an interesting post, although I am sorry to hear about your lungs and pray they get no worse.

I never did smoke, but three of my grandparents did and all died early from emphesyma. Probably because of them, I never was interested when my friends in high school began smoking. But I have this interesting relationship with tobacco for many in my family raised it...

A few years ago I read a book that was interesting by Iain Gately titled: "Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization." Reading about your "brands" reminded me of the "Branding" of tobacco products which Gately describes.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 8:04:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for sharing your story! I've never smoked and neither has Sweety but his parents smoked 6 packs a day when he was growing up and now has problems breathing. Truly nasty stuff that people were led to believe wasn't bad for you.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 8:43:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, thanks for directing me here tonight! Between the two of us, maybe we can affect some change for the good where smoking is concerned! As you know, I smoked for 23 years; 2-3 packs per day. I have NOT smoked for 27 years - but was recently diagnosed with emphysema. I rue the day I started smoking, and I hope that you and I can be instrumental in convincing even one person to quit - or not to start!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 8:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Only read the first few lines and then discoverd that smoking was cool. No one ever told me that. I am now off to set my armor on fire. It smokes quite well I am told.

JK. My father was a born again non smoker - His wrath fell upon smokers like a paluge in the old testement.

Oh, Michelle say hi and sent me by :)

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 9:41:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Bravo for you! What a great and honest post. I am so sorry you have such a problem with your lungs now and can barely get out. I found your blog fascinating. Thanks for stopping by and visiting me! Take care.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 9:55:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

i tasted a camel unfiltered this week, and I liked it. of course we were working in a very toxic mess and the smell was about over powering. yes i did blog about it. peace to you

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 10:57:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Those old ciggy adverts are really scary - especially as its been proven the tobacco companies DID know about some of the side effects while they were still selling them as good for you!

I still have my zippo:-)

The ashtrays are all gone now though:-)))

Back today from micheles

Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 11:48:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I have a very addicitve personality....

I have weaned myself off alcohol...

I have weaned myself off slot machines.....

I still have to give up smoking :-(
although I never smoke indoors anywhere...always outside.

Michele sent me this morning


Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 2:13:00 AM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

Michele sent me today.
Your message is timely and urgent.
Too many still start and too many still die and suffer.
I remember Yul Brennar's service commercial that he made just months before he died of lung cancer. I wish they would still run it as it was one of the most powerful ads I've ever seen.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 10:08:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

It's sad that the cigarette biz just moved its attention to Asia and Europe, and they still make tons of money.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 6:42:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great post. I enjoyed visiting your blog. I am here from Michele's! :)


Friday, April 28, 2006 at 12:48:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Brilliant post. I hope this convinces others to stop. I smoked throughout my college years and after that off and on. I quit after my husband told me I was addicted and that I couldn't go without smoking at least once a day. So I never smoked again! But now, of course, I worry about my own lungs and wish I had never smoked at all.

Congratulations on your Perfect Post Award. Well done!

Monday, May 1, 2006 at 6:46:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Congrats on the award.
My mom is a smoker, has been for about 40 years, with no plans to quit. My dad died 11 years ago from heart disease and emphysema; he also was a smoker. My sister and I have been on my mom's case forever about quitting and thought for sure, with the death of her husband, she would see the damage they do and quit. 11 years later, we are still on her tail and she gets very angry at us. Her health is not so good for various other reasons, though I'm sure the smoking can be blamed for non-lung related issues as well. She loves her cigarettes and claims that with all the other pain she is going through, cigarettes are her last worry. She needs them, she likes them, leave her alone.
I'm glad you finally saw the light. I wish my mother would do the same.

Monday, May 1, 2006 at 9:17:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm a former smoker, too, who began the journey into the ashtray as a way to get a "smoke break" during Navy boot camp. I was up to smoked 2 packs a day by the time I quit. Sure, some of that just burned up in ashtrays at work, but I still got plenty of nastiness into my lungs. I regret it.
Smoking is not glamorous at all, but the cig. companies advertised it that way for such a long time! I'm happy they're off tv, but we still see the ads in mags. I wish everyone would quit....
Great post. Congrats on the Perfect Post award!

Monday, May 1, 2006 at 1:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wonderful and very thought provoking post. Congrats on the award!

Monday, May 1, 2006 at 2:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi there. As an ex-smoker, I can understand and relate to everything you said. I quit for good 8 years ago. Best thing I ever did. But my mother has end stage COPD and she is tethered to an oxygen tank 24 hours a day. A simple cold could kill her. I'm not ready to let her go, but there's nothing I can do. Unless she gets a lung transplant, she will probably die in 10 years or so. Maybe less if she becomes seriously ill. Her lungs can't withstand the rigors of anaesthesia you see, so surgery is out of the question. I hope people listen and quit. It's terrible to see my mother struggling to breathe just from walking accross the room.

Great post, and congrats on your award!!

Monday, May 1, 2006 at 4:41:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great post. My mom died one and a half yrs. ago at age 61 from COPD/emphysema complications. Not a good way to go. I have memories flowing back after your pics of all the lighters and cigarette brands, the ads, even the aqua filters from when I was a child. I still remember all the jingles from tv commercials. They had us "hooked" in more ways than one. I ended up being a smoker but luckily quit many years back. Hope your condition doesn't worsen. Glad you stopped!

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 1:35:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I went back to your cigarette post

amazing how we get duped into doing things we highly regret in later years. Great post.

Saturday, May 13, 2006 at 10:05:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

The ultimate gesture of love a smoker can make to the person(s) for whom they profess to care is to stop smoking.

The ultimate act of loving is to ask the smoker about whom you care to stop smoking (don't nag.)

What more can we give each other than more time with each other?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at 12:44:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

ron reagan was in bed with big tobacco? Yikes!
are you sure he wasn't just an actor getting paid for his face?

Monday, July 31, 2006 at 9:03:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I came a visiting, and your still not around. I saw this in your sidebar, it was probably there before.

I used to smoke. Started around 15, and I could quit for a few years, start up and smoke for a year quit again. Just smoke when I drank. Divorce hit and I started smoking. For the first time in my life, I couldn't just put it down and walk away. I could always before just use it as a crutch and then drop it. It was 3 years straight! It was so hard quitting. I didn't think I could do it, after gum, patches,etc. I just went cold turkey.

Still not a day goes by I don't miss it. Scares the hell out of me that some "thing" had me actually addicted to it. Me! I can take two glasses of wine and walk away. I was on pain killers for over a year for my shoulder, when it was fixed, dropped em, didn't have a problem. So how could I become addicted???? I was shocked.

Yesterday I walked through hell. By late afternoon, I wanted a cigarette. Now I quit 6 years ago. Haven't had a one. Every morning I miss them, and tell myself to get over it. But yesterday I felt justified. After all I'd lived through yesterday I should be able to have just one.

I didn't. This morning I feeling justified again. I came across this.

I'm glad I did. Thanks for leaving it up there to see.

Yeah I'm a nurse and I've seen what it can do. Nurses have high stress jobs and you'd be shocked how many "calm the nerves" with cigarettes.

Friday, August 11, 2006 at 7:23:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

There can be no doubt:
Tobacco is a filthy weed
And from the Devil doth proceed
It stains the fingers, burns the clothes
Makes a chimney of your God-given nose

However, smoking was an unfortunate cultural ritual long before there were ads, product placenent or "big tobacco" Those ads you saw were intended to build brand loyalty, not ensnare new smokers. It was assumed that except for religious zealots, "everybody" would eventually smoke.
Although you may not like Reagan, he was not in cahoots with tobacco interests. He was endorsing a socially acceptable product, perhaps for charity, a common practice in those days.
Before WWII, cigarettes were unhealthy, but "natural". You may remeber all that gibberish about fine leaf "sold American" in Lucky Strike commercials.
But the real villans who made smoking deadlier not only for the smoker but for anyone in the room were the agricultural colleges and federal programs which used taxpayer dollars to push "modern" methods of growing and processing tobacco.
Instead of taking a mild leaf, curing it, and removing the harsh, nicotine rich veins, they came up with a product called "reeconstituted leaf". It is to cigarettes what the worst hamburger is to steak--It was almost unsmokable, so indeed, "big tobacco" promoted filters, menthol, long cigarettes etc. The smoker was spared the worst of the acrid, smelly smoke, but those around suffered for another's vice.
Families who had been tobacco farmers for generations were forced by government regulations to grow strong, inferior leaf that could be used with the "improved" method. The emotional turmoil and financial ruin to those who resisted on principle shortened many a farmer's life.
Today, those who do not understand history complain about smoking in films made in, or depicting the first half of the 20th century. That is counter-productive revisionist history. In those days, people smoked. Parents should call kids aattention to those scenes, and point out prominent people or relatives who paid the price for smoking.
Society is better off sans smoking.
By the way, I never smoked. I don't like to waste money

Sunday, August 27, 2006 at 6:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow! I agree 100% Naomi. I smoked 3 packs a day for 20 years. I quit 17 years ago - cold turkey - just quit! I've never been sorry I quit! I'm REAL sorry I smoked! As a matter of fact... MY lung condition was diagnosed when I went to get a physical before starting my diet! (it's all in my blog -- back in the waaaay beginning) But since dieting and exercising I've increased my lung power by about 20%! And I'm THRILLED. My capacity has not gone up -- but all my other numbers did. My father died of emphyzema though ... and I sure don't want to go out like that! I'm SO glad I quit when I did -- I wish I had quit a lot sooner - hell, I wish I had never started to begin with! But like you say -- we hadn't a CLUE how bad it really was back then! But even knowing doesn't stop people! 3 of my 4 kids smoke. My eldest only smokes 2 cigarettes a day -- but I tell her -- if you only need TWO a day, SURELY you could get by with NONE! I wish they'd all quit! It breaks my heart... especially the youngest! He just started this year! He could quit so easily! Fabulous article (yet again) ... and very nice of you to keep it easily accessable for all the folks who NEED to see it!

Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 4:49:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

wow - this is quite a post - excellent, and very timely - I remember most of these things, I started smoking at age 11, that's 50 years ago - I must stop!

Sunday, November 26, 2006 at 4:18:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

it's really strange that i even stumbled onto your blog,I am a smoker,and i'm addicted , and i had been doing some talking with my higher power,and lo and behold i was ethernet directed to this blog,and from reading it ,my early years were almost the same.I'm a child of the sixties,a teenager of the seventies ,same advertising propaganda,same m.o. here in small-town north Texas,and i got lung damage in the early sixties BIG CHALLENGE AND FUN TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS ,we would run behind the "MOSQUITO MAN" THE city sprayed a fog of diffused oil and DDT TO COAT THE STANDING WATER POOLS TO KILL THE MOSQUITOES. WE WOULD RUN BEHIND THE TRUCK INTO THE FOG.STUUUPIIID! MOMMA TOLD US NOT TO DO IT ,LOL you know how that goes at times.well,i needed to read your blog that was so divinely directed to me ,thank you very much for the kick in the pants i needed. namaste,peg ,an old lady from texas

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 at 11:32:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm waaay late to this, Naomi, as I have been away. My mom died of emphysema at only 62. Addicted is an understatement. I related to the smell of the zippo, etc. I smoked, myself, for many years.

There's a commercial on t.v. (I think it's a Calif. Dept. of Health commercial) with the many images of "glamorous" images from cigarette ads, then ends with an older guy in a wheelchair in a hospital and says he's what one may end up looking like if they smoke. Absolutely. People think it's just make-up. Nope. Believe it!!My mom wasn't the same person at the end, before she died. She was a feeble, sick woman in a wheelchair, doing her best to sneak off for another cig without the nurses seeing her. I was so sad to go to the hospital and find cigarettes in her bra as I went to help bathe her. What a horrible, sad addiction. Keep that message going!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 1:33:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Bless you, Naomi, for writing this!

I have someone I care very much about who needs to read this!


Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 8:02:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hello, this time I came via Michele's! She sent me to read your smoking post which I've never read.

I smokec from the time I was 13 until about 3 years ago...oh, I quit about four or five times - once for over a year...and went back. But, this time I have not gone back and I don't miss them.

And, there has been damage done...I know that everytime the weather is muggy and breathing is just hard for people with no lung problems...

But I am most thankful that I quit!!! Your post on smoking was awesome...

Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 4:23:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Just dropping by for a quick hello, it's already obscenely late over here and my bf is po'd and keeps telling me I need to join a 12-step group for blog addicts and yaddy yaddy yadda, all this to say I was thrilled to get your comment on my blog and I've responded to it over there, and I'll be back to snoop around some more probably tomorrow and it's been a real pleasure bumping into you via Michele's and I wish you a good night and I need to go sleep now as am sleep deprived and this is one of the loopiest and longest sentences I've ever writen so I think I'm just gonna stop. and off to bed I go. :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 11:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh Naomi! I hadn't taken the time to read this post properly before and it absolutely tears me up. I HATE cigarettes with a passion you see, AND the smell of them just chokes me up every time. I suspect I'm mildly allergic to them because I have no tolerance to it at all - my throat hurts even when I'm around someone who has smoked an hour before! I did smoke a few times on and off in my life (stupidly, yes) but I was "lucky" enought that I didn't get addicted - probably because they ended up making me too sick every time. Only now you see, the man that I love is very addicted to his smokes and I'm constantly on his case about it - and how I do hate to be a nag, but I just wish he'd finally realize that he needs to stop for good, immediately, no matter how 'hard" it is. Because what is the pain of stopping an addiction compares to suffering a chronic and debilitating disease because of the cigarettes? I've directed him to this post. I hope he reads it. I hope it inspired him. I'm sorry you're suffering so. When are they just going to ban those things anyway? Not a day too soon I say!

Saturday, October 27, 2007 at 7:34:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

I have no idea who you are since I came across your blog while searching for info on bouganvillas. I was intrigued, well, no, that isn't true. I was actually quite irritated when I saw the photo of you shooting pool with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth. So, quite honestly, I don't even know why I stuck around and started reading... but I did and I'm glad I did.

I have COPD/emphysema. I am oxygen dependent which means I depend on a helios machine to keep me alive. I didn't know anyone who didn't smoke when I was growing up. Both of my parents did. Like many of those who posted on your blog, our home was always full of smoke, as was our car. As incredibly crazy as it sounds, we had no idea it was not healthy. Even when my father died, at the age of 48 from emphysema, did it ever occur to any of us to quit smoking. It was such an integral part of our lives. In resturants, the movies, on TV, everyone smoked. I don't think Johnny Carson ever did an interview without smoking. How sad. And when I went into the Army (WAC) in the early 60's, they gave us cigarettes in our C-rations; Camel, non filters. That is what I smoked for 37 years. I'm not sure which was worse, the second hand smoke I inhaled the first eighteen years of my life or the tar and nicotine I fed myself for the next twenty... but I do know that it breaks my heart now when I see a young person smoking. We had no idea it was unhealthy; I don't see how anyone can justify lighting up a cigarette now.

Whenever I see a young person standing outside of a store smoking, I point to my nasal cannula and say, "Take a good look. This is in your future if you keep smoking." My husband gets irriated when I do that but I just feel like I need to say something. If I can get one person to stop smoking, well, I have to try. And when a young child stares at me in the checkout line, I jump at the opportunity to say "This is the only way I can breathe because I smoked, so don't smoke." You should see their faces. The fear. It is encouraging for me.

I live in Las Vegas. Smoking and gambling are best friends. You should see the dirty looks I get when I ask someone, who plops down beside me with a cigarette in their hand, if they would mind not blowing smoke in my direction. We are a society in denial.

Kudos to you for starting a much needed dialog. Your blog is quite beautiful and so are you.

I was an over-achiever for most of my life and I was very successful at a lot of things. Emphysema put the skids on my life; big time. If you are smoking, stop. If you have never smoked, don't start.

Friday, January 4, 2008 at 6:24:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I read it in November and promised myself I would make a serious attempt to stop smoking soon. I had smoked for 18 years. I haven't had a cigarette since Jan. 4th at 1:30pm. It is so damn hard I can't believe it at times but I'm sticking with it. My son is my inspiration so hopefully that love will prove stronger than the habit. Thank you for helping me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 9:30:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Don't know if you'll ever find this comment but your post is excellent reading - especially for young people who STILL think its "cool" to smoke.

I can still smell the lighter fluid of the exact same type of Zippo you showed in the pic. My dad had one, in fact, I still have it. My mom had all our birthdays engraved on it.

Unfortunately he died of lung cancer when we were still kids....

Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 8:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am sending this to my daughter. Thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 7:03:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I got a gold Dunhill lighter from my ex-husband (in another life) and I thought I was hot stuff when I pulled that out.

I had the same experience that you did when I started smoking...I was on my own in San Francisco going to school...barely out of my teens...from the Midwest...and EVERYBODY smoked. Thought I'd die the first time I lit up but I forced myself. What a dummy.

Quit smoking more than 30 years ago and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I've got asthma so I know what you mean...I'd be dead as a doornail if I hadn't quit smoking!

Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 4:53:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

great post (sprained wrist typing one handed..)

sorry to read of your illness,

quit myself in dec 2010..cold turkey. smoked for 40 years...

Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 9:21:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow, Naomi, I'm glad I saw this. Powerful stuff and my question about your profile pic was answered.

I STILL love the smell of Zippo AND the sound of flipping it open and closed, though I haven't smelled a Zippo in ages. We have our father's old ones that are empty, along with their tie tacs and cufflinks, sitting on our desks.

I have been around smokers my entire life and all the time that I was in the womb.

Chris and I laugh over how crazy everyone has been with smoking. We are SHOCKED that we were ever allowed to smoke on planes! In restaurants! In elevators!? And I still see it, but I can usually avoid it.

Chris even goes as far to avoid his best friend, Jak. Jak is a chain smoker and his home and car reek. We used to visit, but we would take off our shirts afterwards and throw them in the back of the truck because the stench was so strong. And now Chris just doesn't go over...ever. They always meet outside somewhere.

I'm droning on. Thank you for the warning.

And to think that it is 6 years later after writing this :)

Always much love going out to you.


Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 9:37:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I just noticed this post title in the sidebar of your blog. Wow! Great post, Naomi!

I remember when I started smoking, I had the same was terrible but I forced myself to smoke because "everyone else" did. Soooo stupid!!

I quit smoking 35 years ago and it's a good thing I did...I developed asthma about 10 years later and I'll just bet that if I hadn't stopped smoking when I did, I'd be dead, right now!

You're awesome, y'know that?

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 6:22:00 PM PST 

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