Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Power of Nicotine Addiction

I have a relative who is addicted to cigarettes. She has tried several times to quit, but her nicotine addiction was just too powerful to overcome.

My cousin-in-law, Bella (not her real name) is a retired public health and visiting nurse. She has practiced her profession for more than 25 years here in the US and knows the health hazard of cigarettes. In her career as a public health nurse, she had visited several patients in their homes who are dying of lung cancer due to smoking. But she cannot quit smoking, or may be just cannot stop the habit.

Her husband, Ben (not his real name) had tried every incentive to help her quit smoking. Ben even enrolled her to a smoking cessation clinic offered by his employer in the mid 1990s. Bella quit for six weeks after the clinic, but went back to smoking. She has tried quitting twice, but the power of nicotine addiction is just too hard to break. Ben tried to bribe her, a vacation to Aruba, Spain and Cancun, and bought her a grand piano, but she is still smoking today. Ben tried to nag her, but it did not work also. Ben finally gave up nagging her. As a result of smoking, she acts much much older than her chronological age. Bella is only 70 years old but is physically weaker than my 88-year-old first cousin in the Philippines.

Based on statistics, she will be lucky, if she survives until she reached 80 years old. Ben on the other hand does not smoke. Bella needs a wheel chair when they travel to the Philippines annually during their snow bird sojourn. Ben told me that Bella is happy when she smokes, so he stopped nagging her to quit. Ben just makes sure that he does not breathe second hand smoke, by not allowing Bella to smoke inside their house. Bella started smoking in the mid 1980s while she was in nursing school. She told Ben, she will not quit smoking even if she gets emphysema or lung cancer.

The “Power of Nicotine” addiction is indeed hard to fight. It overpowers and clouds the reasoning of an intelligent women who knows the hazard of cigarette smoking. If Bella dies of lung cancer, will Ben have the right to sue the tobacco companies for selling a hazardous and dangerous product? Any lawyers reading this article?

Do you know of a relative or friend addicted to cigarettes? Did your friend or relative survive beyond 80 years or older?

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