There is a stick. It is small and thin, and it isthe cause of 4.9 million deaths around the world every year. It is a bomb,killing 13,400 people a day. The sad part about this is that it is sold to thepublic legally. I am talking about a cigarette.
When I first gotinterested in this topic, I discovered a lot of information I never knew, all ofwhich came from "The Truth" advertisements. Did you know thatcigarettes have the radioactive isotope polonium? Or that smoking kills morepeople than AIDS, drugs, homicides, cars accidents and fires combined? A drugcompany even tried to prevent coroners from putting smoking as the cause of deathon death certificates. It is amazing how much people don't know aboutsmoking.
Even if you don't smoke and don't plan to, you still have to becareful. Secondhand smoke is the cause of 53,000 deaths a year. Breathing insmoke allows the harmful substances into your lungs. You may not think it isserious, but it will build up and eventually you could end up with an illnessthat may lead to death.
For some, facts are not appealing, so here's my story. My reason for not smoking is my deceased grandma. When I waslittle, I didn't pay much attention to smoking. I knew it was bad for you, but Inever understood why, and I didn't care, for that matter. All I knew was mygrandma smoked, and she was fine. When I was just starting school, I would visither almost daily. I would play with her, cook, go to the library and do a lot offun stuff with her.
Then things started to change. She would be at thedoctors or even the hospital frequently. I didn't get to see her as often. My momsaid she had a black hole in her lung. When I asked what she meant, she explainedmy grandma had lung cancer. I couldn't understand how she had gotten it. She wasperfectly healthy! She ate well, went for walks in the park, and smoked. Smokingis what led to her death when I was only five years old. After she died Iunderstood what smoking can do, as well as that it doesn't only affect the personwho smokes, but their loved ones too.
I want you all to know that smokingis bad. Whether it is through facts or personal stories, consider all the aspectsof this dangerous product before you even think about trying it. I know what itis like to lose someone, but what makes the pain worse is the fact that mygrandma's death could have been prevented. Lives will be spared if people becomeaware of the effects of this small, thin deadly stick.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.