A long time ago, I used to smoke a lot – three packs of cigarettes every day. I quit about 29 years ago, and since then, I’ve been really against smoking. I understand how much it can harm your health. But I also remember how it could make me feel good.
Now, let’s talk about someone who’s very sick with something like lung cancer, which can’t be cured. The bad effects from smoking have already happened. Some might think, why take away their cigarettes now? It won’t fix their illness. It’s their life, and their choice. As long as they aren’t using oxygen (because that can cause fires), some might say let them smoke if it makes them feel better.
Taking cigarettes away from someone who’s very sick won’t make them live longer. It might just make them feel worse when they’re already going through a hard time.
But it’s not as simple as that. Even when someone is very sick, quitting smoking can still help them. Studies have shown that quitting can help a person breathe better and cough less, which can make them feel better overall. It also lowers the chance of other health problems, like heart disease or stroke, which can make their illness even harder to handle.
Now, I’m not saying we should encourage smoking. Far from it. I’m just asking for a bit of understanding and kindness. When someone is very sick, we should respect their choices and make sure they’re as comfortable as they can be. It’s important to have honest talks about what they want, while making sure they understand the effects of their choices.
The decision to keep smoking or quit when someone is very sick is a tough one. It’s a decision that involves the person, their family, and their doctors. It’s about balancing comfort, safety, and respect for their choices, with the goal of making sure their quality of life is as good as it can be. Even as we keep telling people how important it is not to smoke, we should also respect and understand the choices of those at the end of their life. Everyone’s life is unique, and so should be their end-of-life care.
[From a letter sender]