We have had a lot of controversy over the rights of those people who want to smoke and those who do not. Do they have as much right to the same air as those who do not smoke? We live in a free country right?

Well I do not want to talk about that. I will leave that for others to haggle over, but what I want to concentrate on is the effects that smoking has on a smokers life and on those who are just standing by and breathing in the second-hand smoke.

Lots of us have either smoked ourselves or had friends and family members who have. My father smoked cigarettes until the day he died of lung cancer. He was about a three pack a day smoker.

I remember going over to his house after the doctor said he could go home and die, and although I did not smoke, I would light one up for him so that he could smoke it. I often thought that this little white cigarette, that he was puffing on, was the process that my father chose over living his life with us. It's a choice that he made and granted, we did not have all of the research and data that we have today, we did not have all of the scientific connections between smoking and cancer, that we have today, but it was known that smoking was not good for you.

I remember all of those days that I was breathing in that second-hand smoke, and I hated every minute of it. We did not know all of the ramifications that second-hand smoke had on other people as we do today, but smoking was an accepted cool thing to do, that turned into an awful habit that was extremely hard to break.
Smoking causes more deaths each year, than AIDS, drug abuse, alcohol, automobile deaths, suicides, and murderers combined. That's a lot folks.

I asked my daughter one day why she smoked? She said she really enjoyed the taste of the cigarette … Really? You enjoy the taste of the bottom of an ash tray in your mouth? Or do you like being the person who gets to kiss you and taste the bottom of an ash tray in their mouth. I know what that's like, my wife used to smoke … yuk!

Cigarettes can cause your breath to smell like the bottom of this ash tray too.
My daughter has quit smoking by the way.

As one who has been on the other side of this … it's awful and it's nasty and it will ever kill you and maybe even take out someone that you really love.

I have seen my father rot away from lung cancer, my mother-in-law die of pancreatic cancer, and my wife's closest friend die of ovarian cancer. As many of you know, It has been the most horrible pain experiences that I have ever gone through. A little piece of you dies as you watch this horrible decease take the life of your loved one.

It is estimated that 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women are caused by smoking.

Information is the one thing that people need, especially young people, before they make this very drastic mistake of choosing to smoke. Young people are right there in the middle of the peer pressure and they do not see what this awful habit can do to them down the road. I understand that. I was young once myself, and I never thought to look down the road, no matter what people were telling me. If it was cool and it made me look good with my friends, i was in.

Most people started on their path to smoking because of this type of pressure, and once they realized the mistake they made, it was too late. They either found it so difficult to quit or they were told by their doctor that they had an incurable cancer and it did not matter anymore … they could keep smoking if they wanted too.

That's what happened to my father, and he kept on smoking right to the end. It took about six months for the lung cancer to suck all the life out of him. He died on September 10, 1973.

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of deaths in the United States, and yes … it's caused by smoking. That's what my mother died from, and she never smoked a day in her life, but she lived with a man who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. Second hand smoke can kill also.

I want you to ask yourself a question … Do you still want to keep smoking?