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Mary Jo H., IL

I’m here to share the effects that smoking has on my family, in particular my grandmother. My paternal grandmother started smoking when she was a teenager and became very addicted. My dad told me that she smoked all of his childhood and he and his brothers were exposed to second-hand smoke. 

When a was a kid in the late 90s or 2000, I can’t remember exactly but it was around that time frame, my grandmother was diagnosed with COPD.  In the beginning, she had mild symptoms, but then the COPD progressed and she soon needed oxygen therapy. 

I remember how much she had trouble getting around with COPD. She tried her best to be independent despite her condition. She would make an effort to spend time with me and her other grandchildren, and do things with us such as taking us to the movies or out to eat. My grandmother was completely dependent on oxygen therapy and always had to bring her oxygen tank with her at all times. 

A few years before she died, my grandmother a conversation with me about how much she regretted ever smoking. She said she started smoking because she thought it would make her more sophisticated and fit in with her peers when she was a teen. I’ll never forget her asking me if I was going to smoke, and how relieved she was when I said no. 

In January of 2008, my grandmother passed away due to end stage COPD. She missed out on a lot including my Sweet Sixteen which was later that year, both high school and college graduations, and knowing her great-grandchildren. 

I always felt sorry for her because she suffered all that time from COPD, and I feel like maybe if she knew more about the potential consequences of smoking, she would have quit smoking a lot sooner or wouldn’t of even started at all. 

So I’m her to tell you my grandmother’s story because she can’t, and my hope is that this story will educate people about the dangers of smoking. If I could influence just one person to quit or discourage them from ever starting, it would make me so happy. 

Thank you so much for reading my story in honor of my grandmother. 


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