The Blame Game
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Profile photo of Janet Plank

When I was 19, I was pushed into lighting a cigarette, actually it happened frequently. I got past the rotten taste and realized that I was losing weight, a lot of weight, all because of a cigarette. It worked for a while, and I gained again.  On July 23, 2003 I threw the stinky things away. Just think, after 20 years and 2-3 packs a day, I quit cold turkey.

I suppose you are wondering at the title, “The Blame Game”.

I’ve been asked numerous times if we should go after the tobacco companies and sue them, because they sold us those products.  They had to know how bad they were.

During my smoking days, I saw numerous commercials, and the kids brought things home from school telling parents to quit smoking.

Did I listen? No.

I made numerous attempts to quit and it didn’t last long.  Cigarettes brought comfort, helped me relax, caused me to eat less, brought satisfaction and looking back, they made me disgusting!

Who did I blame for my smoking?  Without a question, myself.

The tobacco companies sold the products, they didn’t make me smoke. Period.  I am responsible for my own actions.  I know that I upset people, because they feel the tobacco companies, the stores that sell cigarettes, etc. are to blame.  They made the product that caused addiction, but they didn’t make me smoke.  I did.  I’ve had people upset because I won’t sue the companies, and they get more upset when I say that we are each responsible for ourselves.

Quitting is so hard and a support system makes a lot of difference.  Some are doing well with their quit by using Nicoderm or other product. It’s not easy.  Your body can cause physical illness as it goes through withdrawals. It’s so important to get those poisonous toxins out of your body.

I quit because I have Barrette’s esophagus, which is a pre-cancer of the esophagus. About a year or so later, I was struggling to breathe and was diagnosed with asthma and another year or so later, COPD. I am so grateful that I quit when I did. Even being near someone who has smoked affects my breathing. A lit cigarette is really tough. I did this to myself.  I did work in environments that can also contribute to both COPD and asthma, for quite a few years.  They can factor in also, but they too were the choice I made.

I want everyone to know how freeing it is, to put the blame where it belongs, on me.  Accepting that lets me forgive myself and move on. I can’t change my health, but I can change how I think of it.  If one person can learn from my mistakes, it’s been worth it.

Hopefully we can all save a life or make someone’s life better, by supporting them and educating all.

Hopefully we can help others on their cigarette and cigar quit, as well as their COPD.  Always remember, we can’t change our yesterday, but we can change our today and how we think of it. By letting go of the burden of why we smoked, we can heal emotionally and even slow the progression of our disease.  We can quit.  I did, I know others can too.

Staying away from second hand smoke makes a big difference as well.

Always know that you are not alone.

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