We all know that smoking is linked to a myriad of diseases. We see all the campaigns about the dangers of smoking. I have encouraged people to stop smoking. I’ve evern purchased the gum and patches for an girlfriend I was dating years ago who was having difficulty quitting.
I never thought I would meet someone who almost died from quitting smoking. Technically, I didn’t meet him, but I did meet his daughter. A couple of Fridays ago (Friday the 13th to be precise) I was heading back to LAX on my second redeye of the day. I got to talking with the lady sitting next to me about things, and we got onto the topic of her dad. Her story was one of the ironic stories I’ve ever heard.
Her dad had been smoking for decades. For years, everyone had been telling him to quit smoking. He smoked a couple of cigarettes on his way to work and on his way back home. He also smoked during the day, but most of his smoking was in his truck because it was a long commute and stressed him out. One day, he decided that it would be best for him to quit so that he cold live a longer, more fulfilling life. He worked hard to resist the urge to smoke while driving.
After a few months, he ended up in the hospital with severe headaches and an increasing loss of mental capacity. He was diagnosed with brain damage. It turned out that his truck had a cabin leak that was pumping carbon minoxide into the cabin. While he was smoking, he always had the windows down to let the cigarette smoke out. After he quit smoking, he kept the windows rolled up.
There is one upside to this story. It generated awareness in his neighborhood about the dangers of carbon minoxide poisoning in their cars and homes.