The smoke swiftly, almost graceful, fills the mouth, leaving the teeth yellow and coating the tongue with a sick taste. It creeps down the throat like a cat about to jump its prey. When it reaches the lungs, it attacks like a rat hungry for food, leaving them chewed up and dead. That's what I think of smoking. Bad, stupid, and painful.
Though I am only 13, I know a lot about smoking. True, I have never tried it and never intend to, but I do know that 434,000 people die from smoking each year, 3,000 from different lung cancers and 150,000-300,000 get bronchitis and pneumonia from second-hand smoking. I worry every day that I might die from secondhand smoke because of my mother's habit. I don't blame my mom; it's not her fault she got addicted in college when it was so fashionable to smoke. I blame the tobacco companies for making my mother addicted. The tobacco industry knew smoking was addictive, but they didn't care; all they cared about was money.
I remember when I was 8: I was in the car with my mom and grandparents. Each of them, at the same time, pulled out cigarettes and started smoking. It didn't take long for the car to fill up with smoke, even though the windows were open. The smoke ran out of space so it attacked my lungs, making me cough and leaving a burning feeling in my stomach and throat. I remember wondering why people try it.
I know most smokers don't care if they die from it, but what about their family members and loved ones who can get sick or die from second-hand smoke? Four hundred and thirty-four thousand people die from smoking.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be just another one of those numbers. t
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.