Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Warning: Cigarettes Are Addictive

This image provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 shows one of nine new warning labels cigarette makers will have to use by the fall of 2012. In the most significant change to U.S. cigarette packs in 25 years, the FDA s the new warning labels depict in graphic detail the negative health effects of tobacco use. (AP Photo/U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
This image provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 shows one of nine new warning labels cigarette makers will have to use by the fall of 2012. In the most significant change to U.S. cigarette packs in 25 years, the FDA's new warning labels depict in graphic detail the negative health effects of tobacco use. (AP Photo/U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Well, that's icky.


I have a history with cigarettes that goes back to a girl named Stephanie Pottle. I was thirteen, she was a bit older . . . and she smoked. Since Stephanie was beautiful and glamorous, I decided smoking must be, too. I started out like everyone else, with furtive drags in secret places.


I progressed to a pack a day within a year or two and began a love affair with fancy gold lighters and antique cigarette holders. (Hey, if you're going to do it, do it with style, right?)


The idea of smoking while pregnant seemed very, very stupid, so I quit some time before we planned to have our first child. Cold turkey. New Year's Eve. I didn't look back, though I'd have an occasional dream I'd started smoking again—I felt guilty on those mornings for a microsecond, then congratulated myself.


When we moved to Alabama, it seemed like this state must be second only to North Carolina in its dedication to the tobacco leaf. I was surrounded by smokers. It looked fun. I had a . . . you guessed it . . . furtive, secret drag or two. I progressed to (fill in the blank).


On December 25, 2010, standing in three inches of snow behind my grandmother's condo, I enjoyed my final eight drags of nicotine. It felt pretty stupid, standing out there freezing while my cousin covered for me (not naming names . . . but she's a wonderful cousin). I have been smoke-free ever since, and try not to be all Reformed Smoker around my friends who still inhale. I don't tell them that everything tastes better, and most days I feel like I could walk forever without pausing for breath, or that my teeth are whiter. Sometimes I even look longingly at their Marlboros, but I think my beloved strawberry gum is easier on my lungs.


That new warning label is pretty graphic. I'm pretty sure it'll stare back hard at me if I'm tempted to peruse the latest from Big Tobacco. I hope it will stare at other people, too.










Love from Delta.


9 comments:

  1. You are so strong bethiedee! You were triumphant over the "wicked tabacky" and lived to tell about it ...ahem ...and just look how gorgeous u are now. So proud of your perseverance and lovely pearly whites. Anonymous loves u. Write on!

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  2. Thank you, Anonymous. I love you, too.

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  3. Enjoyed reading blog...I have really funny trying to quit story involving Nicarette to quit smoking, chewing tobacco to quit nicarette, back to nicarette to quit really gross but quite addictive cherry chewing tobacco, then cigarettes to quit really expensive nicarette, then finally hypnotist who talked for a million hours and bored me into quitting. Been smoke free for twelve years...I had quit for five years before this epic quitting adventure, then met future ex-husband who happened to smoke my brand, one evening I thought, "I can just have one little puff.."

    Marietta Sophie Loudon

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  4. Here are a few photos that didn't make the final cut:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/21/rejected-cigarette-warnings_n_881527.html#s295886

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  5. Those are hilarious, Duke - put 'em on my Facebook. Thanks.

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  6. Quitting cigarets is so easy...I've done it a hundred times. It is staying quit that's tough. Yet still easier is putting the right spin on it, as did Bubba: "But I don't inhale".
    Old Unca Reese

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  7. When dad would come back from overseas with cigars they would just say, "SMOKING KILLS" on them; like all over them. I like these new labels though, maybe they will discourage the kids who think smoking makes you beautiful like the ads.
    Love from Tampa

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  8. They sure should, Chel. That ain't a pretty picture, and I suspect the rest will be equally revolting.

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