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  1. Until I had sole control over my life (more or less), I was surrounded by second-hand smoke from my family members, both mother and stepfather, grandparents and the like. Born in SE KY where coal is king and killer, my family suffered from Black Lung disease, asthma, bronchitis, you name it. Sadly but true, the newer generations of family members (20’s and 30′), as far as I know do not smoke. It appears that those who have indulged in smoking, tobacco and snuff dipping, etc. have died from various tobacco-related diseases which took their lives in a cruel way by lung cancer, COPD, pulimonary lung disease and you name it. As an adult, I felt a sense of freedom by having the right to choose not to smoke anything, prohibit smoking in or near my son or anyone that chose to enter my home. At the workplace, as a professional I was usually the sole voice of concern and protest to prohibit smokers (other employees) in the workplace especially since as an educator, kids model what they see even if what they see is not healthy for them.

    My mother and sisters wished on their death beds that they never even thought about picking up a cigarette. Unfortunately, my grandson’s mother is a smoker and he has been flirting with cigarette smoking as a minor for years, but without any say as to what he can or can not do, I hesitate to think that the end result of his life will parallel that of the rest of my smoking family members–who are now six feet under.

    My physician says that because I have never smoked that I have changed the genetic code of my DNA. According to her, I may have added 15 years to my life, even as an adult who was born with asthma as was my mother. I pray that with her medical prediction and knowledge coupled with fate, I can live a much longer and healthier life but I worry about my grandson, who is almost of legal age to smoke.

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