I am the only adult in my family never to have smoked, never taken a drag in fact; and I have vehemently been opposed to this particular vice since I could talk.
People have always rolled their eyes at my lectures and protests, and more often than not laughed off my advice to quit. I have chilled out in the last few years, and now have a policy of letting people get on with it unless it encroaches upon my personal space.
However, Sunday night I came downstairs to find my mum unable to breathe and a rather odd colour. I left her inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water I setup and called an ambulance. She had the bad flu going around and had developed a chest infection.
Such was the lack of oxygen in her blood, she spent most of Sunday night in A&E on the cusp of intensive care. Luckily she responded to treatment with nebulizers, steroids and IV antibiotics.
My mum had essentially developed emphysema and COPD (constructive obstructive pulmonary disease) due to being a very heavy smoker since she was around 8 years old.
Mum is so fearful of another attack that she will never smoke again. I only hope that she makes good this promise. To some degree I can empathise with the generation that got hooked before government health warnings advised how dangerous it is.
I can’t and never will understand anyone who does smoke, especially those who started with the warnings and information around.
To this end I have published the picture below, with mums full support in the hope that it will deter or make smokers consider the pain they will cause themselves and love ones if they continue what they are doing.