|Frances DeMasi Middle School, Marlton, NJ|
| Last Modified: November 1, 2001
When I was in second grade four years ago, I came home from a sleep over. My mom, who had picked me up early, was about to tell me something I will never forget. She told me that the night before, my father had died.
Millions of thoughts ran through my head then. The thoughts weren't questions, they were memories and predictions of what was to come. I didn't have any questions because I understood why my father had died. I had even predicted that it was going to happen soon. I knew because my father had been smoking and drinking. These two deadly habits are what took my father's life away from him and me. This is why I'm never going to smoke or drink.
Smoking is a deadly disease, but you don't always have to be the one puffing the cigarette to be affected. If you are constantly around someone who smokes a lot, then you can be exposed to cancer by second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is almost just as bad as smoking first hand. In fact, I feel it's worse because the person who is affected, sometimes never even touched a cigarette and never would, yet they can die from it. So you see, it's important that every individual makes it their responsibility to not smoke because it's bad enough if they don't want to save themselves, they could at least spare the lives of the people around them.
Although you cannot affect someone else physically by drinking as second hand smoke does, you can severely hurt yourself. When you start to drink heavily, you can become addicted to the alcohol and you won't be able to stop. It's the same with cigarettes too. Soon you won't be able to pay for the cigarettes or the alcohol. And not to mention what damage it could do to your health! Your lungs get black, you're always coughing, and you can die from all kinds of cancers and heart diseases.
Also, think what your parents would say if they found out you were doing that kind of stuff? Do you think you'll be able to hide it? No Way! Your teeth will become yellow and you and your clothes start to stink. Plus, if you try to hide in your room when you smoke, your walls will become yellow and dirty. So is all that really worth it?
Now you may think if someone asked you to smoke or drink alcohol, you would automatically say no. You probably think this because we have learned so many things about smoking and the deadly problems it can cause. But think again! Don't you want to hang out with the so called "cool kids"? Don't you want all the kids to think you're popular? What would you really say? You're having second thoughts now, right? That's the problem. Too many kids are unprepared when they are asked to smoke, do drugs or alcohol. You have to choose now what you want to say. You can't wait until you're "put on the spot" to decide. If you wait, then you'll do what any human would do when put under pressure. You'll panic. Once in a panic, you can't think straight and will do what is easiest--give in. But, if you decide what you are going to do now, then you can stand strong on your choice and you won't have any trouble answering. So whether you choose to decide to do it or not, that's up to you. I only hope you do the right thing and just say NO!