Volume 92, Issue 20

Wednesday, October 7, 1998



For the love of another person

Re: Mind your own health, Sept. 30

To the Editor:

Although I am not in the habit of writing in response to newspaper articles, I felt absolutely compelled to respond to Brendan Howe's opinions piece.

He argues that he smokes because he enjoys it, which alone is a good enough reason to do most anything. He enjoys "pausing for a moment and just standing there, relaxed," something I'm sure he relishes particularly during the coldest days of winter and on the rainiest days of the more temperate seasons.

He does have a point when he compares smoking to jaywalking, having a few beers or eating a burger – these are all things that come with a modicum of danger if done to excess or done carelessly. But let us put these rationales aside. Ignore the fact that smoking is addictive, that second hand smoke is bad for those around you, let us forget that smoking causes cancer, let's forget that it brings on early periodontal disease, let's forget that it makes you smell terrible to those who do not smoke and never mind that it carries with it a myriad of health complications from susceptibility to flu and colds (just look around you) to emphysema and heart disease. Mr. Howe and most smokers already know these facts.

I am writing not to chastise Mr. Howe, but to beg, plead, to IMPLORE him to quit smoking. Not because I know him, not because I speak from a "high and every so mighty pedestal," but because I know that there is someone in the world who loves him.

It may be a parent, a sibling, a childhood friend, a cousin, an aunt and uncle, a neighbour, a lover or a spouse. Think, for one moment, about how someone who loves you would feel if you developed cancer from smoking.

I am sure that Mr. Howe wouldn't want that loved one to have to worry about every little cold virus that passed by in the fear that it could end his life, to have to live with the knowledge that they would soon lose his company and be deprived of all the special qualities that are loved about him and to have to face down his death sentence along with him.

Later, the person who loves him would have to care for him 24 hours a day, take him to the bathroom because he wouldn't be able to get there under his own power and watch him become confused as the quickly metastasizing cancer spreads to his brain (something which occurs fairly often in cases of lung cancer).

In the aftermath, the person who loves him is left alone with the painful realization that none of this ever needed to happen. What person, with any love in their heart, would wish this on another?

Please quit smoking Mr. Howe. Someone who loves you very much wants to have you around for as long as possible.

I should know. My mother died on March 11, 1998 from lung cancer as a result of smoking

Murrielle Michaud

Classical Studies II

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998