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The Blame Game

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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (9)
  • Janet Plank moderator author
    2 years ago

    MustangSallyrj what a blessing you are to your boyfriend, also to us and about the face of COPD. Sadly, smoking is often the first thing that people will say. It’s so important that we continue to educate the public and hopefully that will bring a better understanding. It sounds like your boyfriend was in so many environments that could cause or affect COPD.
    I second Lynn’s mention of your boyfriend sharing his story. If he’s up to it.
    It means alot to me and so many to hear the caregivers experience and understanding as well.
    Thank you both!

    Janet

  • Jema
    2 years ago

    My boyfriend was diagnosed 2 yrs ago with end stage COPD.He was one of the lucky ones that could quit cold turkey.He didnt smoke for that many years at all and didn’t smoke that much either.He gets so tired of people blaming him for his COPD because he smoked. He has worked around chemicals, asbestos, crawled under basements and in attics for his job.He isn’t sure how he developed it but would love for everyone to quit thinking that tobacco was the only and main reason he developed COPD.I am so very proud of how he is coping and living with this horrible disease.Proud of him actually.I am not sure I could handle it as well as he has or any of you guys on this forum. I Can’t even imagine what you guys go through but my prayers go out to all of you.

  • Jenn Patel
    2 years ago

    Thanks for being such an active and supportive voice in the community, MustangSallyrj! It sounds like your boyfriend is lucky to have you in his life. Congratulations to him on quitting smoking! That’s a HUGE accomplishment and definitely something to be proud of. I’m sorry he has to hear all those comments from people about smoking. Sometimes people in the community find it helpful to share articles with friends and loved ones to explain what it feels like when they make those comments. I don’t know if he’d like to do that but figured I’d let you know that!

    Wishing you and your boyfriend a good one today,
    Jenn (COPD.net Team)

  • Mendo Bruce
    2 years ago

    I don’t know if we are justified to sue the cigarette companies for selling tobacco we did know about tobacco’s health risks.

    I do think we should sue them for all the things they put in cigarettes the WE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT. The additives that made tobacco even more addicting and much harder to quit. The hundreds of dangerous additives that made cigarettes burn faster, stay fresher, even additives that acted as bronchodilators to hide our symptoms!

    Who knows if we would have quit or if we would have gotten sick without those additives but the fact they were hidden deprived us of the ability to make an educated choice regarding the risks.

  • Jenn Patel
    2 years ago

    Really interesting and upsetting point, Mendo Bruce! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sure you’re not the only one who feels this way – we appreciate your talking about it here!

    Best,
    Jenn (COPD.net Team)

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    2 years ago

    Bucky, my daughter-in-law has had some very majory health issues. At one time she told me “I’ve been letting this disease run my life for too long, it’s time for me to take charge and to live”. There was so much power and strength in those words. Basicly you said the same thing, with different words.
    Sooner would have been nice, sadly we can’t go back there. But you know that and speak with such grace with your acknowledgement.
    Thank you

  • lynn2u
    2 years ago

    I totally agree. Know that you have people like myself that know that we are responsible for our choices and that blaming others will not help and in fact my hurt oneself. Do not succumb to the pressure. Disconnect and move on . Thanks for your post. Retired psychologist, Lynn

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    2 years ago

    Thank you Lynn and to be understood means alot to myself and others. You are so very right. Do not succumb, disconnect and move on. Those are powerful words!

  • buckybuck
    2 years ago

    What really rang a bell with me, Janet, was your statement about how freeing it is to accept the blame for one’s condition! No one did this to me except ME! I accept that and I accept the consequences. Being on oxygen is a Godsend! But the oxygen doesn’t control me; I control it! This thinking give me the strength and freedom to continue living as active a life as I choose. My regret is that I wish I had owned this way of thinking a lot sooner than I did.

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