Tom, I really appreciate your continued dedication to discussing nicotine addiction, the people who suffer from it, and the need for our country and culture to refocus how we address and manage this health crisis. This affects all of us!
If I may share a brief snippet of my life, some may recall that I was diagnosed with Stage IIIA NSCLC (adenocarcinoma) in early 2016, at age 40. I had a brief smoking history from my early 20s and was able to easily quit. I don't know whether addiction is *allowed* to be easy, so I can't say whether it was ever an addiction. I do know that my doctors did not consider me high-risk for lung cancer prior to my diagnosis.
My father (not biological, but the one who raised me), was a life-long smoker. He tried so hard to quit, on several occasions. He was successful for periods of time, as well. He was diagnosed the year I moved out of state, just after Thanksgiving. He came up to visit with my mom, just prior to his diagnosis, and he'd been sober for many, many years, but we gave him codeine syrup and whiskey because he was in so much pain from the hacking and the tumor that was resting on his spine. He couldn't sleep lying down, because the pressure was too great to breathe. I visited him at Christmas, just a month later, and he told me that even if he'd known in hindsight he would get lung cancer, he wasn't sure he would have been able to quit. And was he frightened of his disease? Of course he was. He was terrified. It broke my heart. He died the morning after I returned home. That was sixteen years ago. I hate that some diseases are used as punishment for "bad behavior" . That needs to change.
There are at least two life affirming facts I want to become prevalent in our culture.
1. Nobody deserves to get lung cancer.
2. Nobody deserves to die from lung cancer.