Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Dad was a smoker--from the archives

Oh, I remember that cough. We children had never known anything else but Dad's coughing. And the blue haze everywhere in the house if he was home. In those days, I didn't find the smell unpleasant like I do now. It was always a mix of after shave, hair cream, cigarettes and fuel oil. But what must my mother have thought? Neither of her parents smoked. Her mother was a health-nut--wouldn't even eat red meat, and she was always airing out the house.

Dad told me 40 years later [after he'd quit] that he wanted a cigarette for 20 years. When I was younger, I didn't think about that too much. But now I'm in awe of his focus, drive and determination. He was not always a pleasant person to be around when I was growing up. I wonder now if he just wanted a cigarette, if his head hurt, his eyes burned and his skin crawled for nicotine. My parents weren't social--Dad dealt with people all day, 12 hours a day and a houseful of noisy children at night. And all the while, craving a cigarette, knowing that would take the edge off.


Anonymous said...

Murray sez:
I was a smoker for about 25 years. Nicotine increases your aggressiveness. I have often wondered how much my life would have changed had I not smoked. I do know my health would certainly be much better. It was years after I quit before I stopped craving a cigarette. Like your father, I too delt with people all day working as a account manager. My aggressiveness made a lot of money for my employer and provided me with promotions but it wrecked my heart.

Norma said...

It's hard to know which comes first--it goes to the brain so fast (6 seconds) that I'm sure NOT having a smoke can feel pretty awful if you need it. If you were aggressive on nicotine you must have not been a load of fun when you quit! My son has been smoking since he was 14--is now on the patch saving a ton of money. Just about to wean off. The patch has nicotine but not all the other 4000chemicals.

From a non-smoking site: Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins. These include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT.

Nicotine in small doses acts as a stimulant to the brain. In large doses, it's a depressant, inhibiting the flow of signals between nerve cells.

Most of the chemicals inhaled in cigarette smoke stay in the lungs. The more you inhale, the better it feels—and the greater the damage to your lungs."