Griev­ing fam­ily mem­ber urges smok­ers to quit a deadly habit

The Progress-Index Weekend - - MAGIC MOMENTS -

The win­ter months are hard for me. They re­mind me that an­other year has gone by with­out my fa­ther and my younger sis­ter.

Dad had been a smoker since his teens and died from pan­cre­atic can­cer at 39. I was 13, and my sib­lings were younger. In those days, we didn’t know that smok­ing was a risk fac­tor for pan­cre­atic can­cer.

My sis­ter smoked from the time she was 13. She died from lung can­cer at 44, leav­ing be­hind two young sons.

Nei­ther my fa­ther nor my sis­ter got to ex­pe­ri­ence the won­der­ful fam­ily mile­stones and cel­e­bra­tions we have had. Their grand­chil­dren will never know them. Each year dur­ing the hol­i­days, I feel a sad­ness in my heart.

I urge ev­ery smoker to make a vow to quit and carry it through, not only for their own sake but also their fam­ily’s. Stay de­ter­mined to quit so you won’t cause your loved ones sad­ness and won’t miss out on their fu­tures. With all my heart, I wish smok­ers the best of luck in quit­ting. — MISS­ING DAD AND SIS IN SACRA­MENTO

I’m glad you wrote be­cause the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety’s an­nual Great Amer­i­can Smoke­out will be held on Nov. 16. It’s a day when mil­lions of smok­ers put down their cig­a­rettes— just for one day — with the con­vic­tion that if they can go 24 hours with­out one, then they can do it for 48 hours, 72 hours, and stop smok­ing for good. The idea grew out of a 1970 event in Ran­dolph, Mas­sachusetts, and be­came a na­tional event in 1977.

Read­ers, I’m not go­ing to ha­rangue you with death threats. We are all aware of the grim statis­tics as­so­ci­ated with can­cer-re­lated deaths caused by to­bacco. If you’re in­ter­ested in quit­ting, this is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity. Call (800) 227-2345 to be con­nected with coun­sel­ing ser­vices in your com­mu­nity, pro­vided with self-help ma­te­ri­als of­fer­ing in­for­ma­tion and strate­gies on quit­ting for good, and to re­ceive in­for­ma­tion about med­i­ca­tions avail­able to help you quit. This ser­vice is free and pro­vided 24/7. Or go on­line to can­cer. org. — Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

JEANNE PHILLIPS

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