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My dad smoked from the time he was 13 and had a heart attack at age 55. Then at age 56, he nearly died on an operating table because his lungs and heart were so compromised the doctor had to stop surgery to resuscitate him. The doctors told him if he smoked again he would die. His friend brought him a carton of cigarette to the hospital and my mom told him it was either cigarettes or her. She would not allow him to come home from the hospital so he went to stay with his friend. A month later and still smoking, he caught pneumonia and nearly died. He threw his cigarettes in the garbage can and called my mom and never looked back. Even though he quit smoking, at the age of 74, he died from complications related to his days of smoking. He had emphysema and COPD and his tissue was so damaged from smoking, he hemorrhaged to death when his doctors tried to repair his colon.

Then when my mom was 72, she underwent medical tests for diagnosing Hepatitis C and her doctor asked me if my mother ever smoked. I said no, but my dad had been a chain smoker for most of their married life. Then the doctor said that explained the condition of her lungs.

My aunt smoked for years, she has had breast cancer and melanoma.
My uncle smoked and he died of prostate cancer.
My cousin smoked and she had stomach cancer.
I can list hundreds more but this space should be left open for other to tell their story.

I have asthma and I never smoked a cigarette in my life. But I am severely allergic to nicotine and my son was born with severe allergic reactions to nicotine. His lips swell up and his tongue itches when he is exposed to cigarette smoke for longer than a few seconds. He has never been exposed to cigarettes except in public places where we couldn't get out fast enough yet we are forced to be exposed to other's toxic habit. I believe cigarette smoke is damaging our very DNA GENES when we are exposed to the toxic wastes of tobacco and my son’s geneticist agrees.

My biggest pet peeve is being forced to endure cigarette smoke that is infiltrating our apartment; thanks to our neighbors nasty habits. I pay rent but I have no right to the peaceful enjoyment that is supposed to be granted under Texas law because the Texas Legislature is bought and paid for by the Tobacco Industry and the Texas Apartment Association, who mistakenly believe SMOKERS ARE A PROTECTED CLASS OF CITIZENS, will not enforce the Fair Housing Laws to protect tenants from second hand smoke that is killing them. SMOKERS ARE NOT A PROTECTED CLASS! The facts are second hand smoking is considered a health hazard and Fair Housing Laws under HUD rules should be enforced to stop people from smoking where it is killing their neighbors. My second biggest peeve is being forced to walk through a fog of second hand smoke at entrances of building that ban smoking. No one enforces the 50 foot rule in Texas. WE MUST FIGHT TO BAN SMOKING TO SAVE LIVES AND SAVE OUR CHILDREN’s LIVES! PERIOD!
Pamela Miles-Hickman

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Whatever your experience is with secondhand smoke or the illness related to smoking, we want to hear it and share it with others on our website and in our advocacy efforts to make smoke-free workplaces a reality in Texas.

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