As one of three young children, I recall one of the most coveted privileges my mother bestowed upon us. Shortly after my eighth birthday, and right before Christmas the stars had aligned to give me the winter reward all 3 of us children desired. Of course my older brother who was 12 got to carry out this deed much more often than me or my sister who was 7. But tonight he was at a hockey practice with my father.
My pregnant mom, sister and I were driving from our suburban home on an 18 mile trip to see the amazing Christmas lights adorning the vast Boston Common. This was one of my fondest annual childhood memories. Shortly after our journey began my opportunity to participate in the reward came. “Honey, reach into my pocketbook and grab me a cigarette and light it, would you?” You see, my mom refused to take her mittens off will driving due to her poor circulation. In her wisdom, she recognized how dangerous it would be to try to light a cigarette, while driving, with mittens. It would be much safer to have her 8 year old son light it for her.
I felt like such an adult as I passed her the lit Pall Mall and blew the smoke toward the back seat where my jealous sister stewed. The only downside to this whole scenario was that my mother would not allow us to crack the window for fresh air. “Are you crazy? It’s freezing out! Roll that back up right this instant!”
Looking back on this, I realize that my mother had practically no idea the danger cigarettes posed to one’s health and absolutely no concept of secondhand smoke. The Surgeon General had issued vague warnings that cigarette smoking may be harmful to your health.
What’s so discouraging now is that we do know the hazards of smoking and nicotine addiction, yet we see predatory companies pushing children’s flavored vape cartridges. They even have the audacity to put a warning to keep out of reach of children on the side of Cap'n Crunch, Count Chocula, and Trix flavored flavored vape cartridges.
So the battle moves from the ignorance of smoking dangers to predatory targeting of children. No one ever said it would be easy to win this war. But each individual victory is a step in the right direction. Keep up the fight and KTQ.