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Janet R., AZ

I have emphysema. I should have died 10 years ago but instead I quit smoking. 1.) I had to know that I was going to die because of my addiction. 2.) I felt overwhelming sorrow and regret over the loss of my life.

I was in denial during the 50 years I smoked. My dad had several strokes then finally died of lung cancer. My Mom died from complications caused by emphysema, and yet I continued to smoke. I thought the same couldn't happen to me until I was rushed to the hospital (dying) 10 years ago; I then realized how badly I wanted to live.

I am now pro-active about my health, and I want to do all I can to keep the air we breathe relatively clean. Everyone who cherishes not only life but the quality of their life and has ridden themselves of their addiction have a right to breathe clean air.

I am old enough to remember that when people got sick with breathing disorders, they went to Arizona to get well! Sadly, that's not the Arizona I know today. I believe the government needs to do the work we as individuals cannot, but then we 'the people' must do our part for ourselves, for the future of our children and for our nation.

First published: May 29, 2012

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