Lung Cancer: Why do People still smoke?

My friend, MaryAnn Freeman, recently died from lung cancer. MaryAnn put up an amazingly long six-year fight. The cancer spread to her brain and she went through all sorts of treatments including laser and chemo. She spent 80 days in Hospice care at the end.

My sister was in high school with MaryAnn and she has been in my life for 38 years. I was the little sister, then a friend. I saw her with her children and I have seen her children grow up. She left behind her husband, family and friends. She was 56 when she died. I loved her and I will miss her always.

MaryAnn smoked. She smoked as long as I knew her, though she quit the minute she was diagnosed. But it was too late.

Why do people still smoke? I just read these statistics from the March/April issue of Pink Magazine: “Cigarette smoking accounts for nearly 440,000 deaths each year… Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women and has been for 15 years, killing more women annually than breast, ovarian and cervical cancer combined. And 80 percent of women diagnosed with lung cancer have a smoking history.”

The article also announced that R.J. Reynolds has a new chic Camel No.9 cigarette that is a thinly veiled attempt to entice young women to start smoking. They claim the product is aimed at adult smokers (So, that’s ok?) but the ads they started running, show the sleek black box with a hot pink or teal border…Now, who do you think that will appeal to? They have discontinued the ads because of the response of public health groups, but will continue selling the product.

We have to reach children and teen-agers with the right messages! Stop them before they start! This is what I want to do. I want to think of ways to keep young people from starting to smoke in the first place.

Young girls smoke to keep their weight down. How about teaching them to exercise and eat in a healthy way to keep their weight down?

Maybe we can offer young boys alternatives to smoking, to combat the nervousness and insecurities that make them pick up that first cigarette.

Children imitate. We all know that. We have a responsibility to take care of the children–all the children.

I am looking for any and all ideas to help our youth. Join me. Let’s stop this ridiculously, insane way people are choosing to live and die.

Yes, it is their business, but they are leaving people behind who loved them.

And miss them.

6 Responses to “Lung Cancer: Why do People still smoke?”

  1. 1 Me February 21, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Does my husband know that I’m dying a thousand deaths right now?

    I’m sitting in the waiting room of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre. That’s centre with a “re”.

    I hate this. I am a walking cliché right now. After all, anyone who’s survived cancer says the same thing. “I consider myself fortunate.” “I’m so lucky.” “It could be worse.”

    “Phew!” That’s what I said.

    Infantile response? Maybe. If you were to walk this path, what would you’re response be?

    After the clichés are over, you carry on. Forget about it. You’re strong. You can do it. You have NO right to get upset about this. Thyroid cancer? It’s the best cancer you can have. Oncologists tell you that if they had to “wish” a cancer on their child, it would be cancer of the thyroid. It’s the good cancer. No place for references to oxymorons. Besides…that is a big word that the majority of the population will not understand. Heaven’s to Betsy (old time cliché) let’s not write about how we feel. Even if it is the good cancer

    Anyway, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, sitting in the waiting room at the ORCC. How could I forget? How could you forget? Do you really want to read this blog? If I were you – I wouldn’t. You may catch my disease.

    I am a smoker.

    I sit in the waiting room and I see people who are dying because they smoke. I hate this. I don’t want to see these people. This can’t possibly happen to me.

    I can tell who the smokers are. They are yellow. They have a look – they have a sound. They have a loved one standing beside them looking helpless and dazed.

    That’s not me. I’m playing in the little league of cancer. You people are in the big league. I don’t belong here. You’re invading my aura of denial. I don’t want to look like you and I don’t want to sound like you.

    I don’t want to see you.

    I have the good cancer. You have the bad.

    Do I see it coming?


    Please help me.

  2. 2 DJC February 22, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    What a touching message! You make tremendous points in this blog. Your obvious passion for the cause shines through… I hope that this message reaches as many people as possible!
    Love, your biggest fan 🙂

  3. 3 beta May 2, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I smoke because I’m too much of a coward to commit suicide, so I’m performing gradual suicide.

  4. 4 Pissed May 6, 2008 at 11:05 am

    People have a god given right to chose to smoke. So stay out of their business and let them do what they want. You make this big deal about smoking but what about drinking, that is just as bad kids see there parents do it all the time. And what can you say for the few people that smoke their whole lives and have no side effects of smoking, or at least no cancer. Its fine if you are against smoking but don’t tell another person what to do, its there life they dont have to take you into consideration when they want to do something. People are too weak plain and simple, people die get over it.

  5. 5 James Fryer May 12, 2008 at 9:56 am


    Did you bother to read this post? Diana is not telling anyone what to do, she is trying to educate and get people to make better, more informed decisions. She is not calling for cigarettes to be outlawed, she is enlightening.

    And brother, you should listen up, it sounds like you could use all the enlightening you could get!

    Oh, and I’m just curious, which god is it that is giving people this right?

  1. 1 How To Stop Smoking » Blog Archive » Lung Cancer: Why do People still smoke? Trackback on February 21, 2008 at 4:53 pm

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I am a Certified Life Coach, Author and Speaker and am an expert at helping people reduce stress. I work with individual clients and facilitate workshops and coaching for groups in my coaching practice. I am the author of three books and as a speaker, author, and coach, I offer easy-to-incorporate strategies to help people reduce stress. We cannot always change things around us, but we can change what's inside of us.


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