Daddy, please stop smoking.

We all know the dangers of smoking. I’m in my 30’s and I remember from when I was at primary school in the early 90’s being told about how harmful it is. Both of my parents smoked – my mum gave up before I was born but up until three years ago, my dad was a 20-a day (and more!) smoker. I was never really tempted to start smoking – like most teenagers I had a few crafty drags of friend’s fags, but never really saw the attraction. My middle brother is pretty much the same, although he occasionally has a cigar when out with friends. My youngest brother started smoking when he was 16 though – or, at least admitted to it when he was 16. He’s 25 now and hasn’t smoked for about three years. Both he and my dad swapped smoking for vaping, and haven’t touched a cigarette since.

Cigarettes haven’t completely disappeared from my life though – Graham is a smoker. He hates the fact that he is, I hate the fact that he is, and our three young children hate the fact that he is. He has talked about giving up soon but I’m not putting the pressure on him. I can only imagine how hard it is to quit a habit that he has had for 20 years now. I think – and I’m saying this as a none smoker – it’s possibly easier than it has ever been to give up smoking thanks to the rise of the e-cigarette and vaping, but the person needs to be ready before they can take the step, just like with any addiction and habit.

I think the one thing that will push him to quit sooner rather than later is how it is affecting the kids. He tries not to smoke in front of them, going down to the bottom of the garden when he wants a fag, but of course, they do know and they do see him. A few times they’ve copied him with pencils, and it broke his heart. Now, the older two are both at school and have come home telling us about how they know smoking is bad for you. They have started asking him to stop smoking.

I remember as a kid worrying myself sick because we were told that people who smoke have a higher chance of cancer and heart disease, and I was worried about my dad dying.  I doubt that the kids will be learning about it quite as graphically as that just yet, but as they get older, they will learn this. Hopefully, by then, he will already have given up smoking but if he hasn’t, I hope he listens when they say

“Daddy, please stop smoking”

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