I once heard a geneticist claim that the changes to genes induced by smoking have now been traced forward for 3 generations.
So as I approach 60, an auspicious age at which many of my family have died, this NY Times article came as a reminder that some things are simply more powerful than what we eat.
In North Carolina, where I grew up, tobacco was king. Pall Malls on every corner. Women with Jackie Kennedy dos riding around in convertibles, scarves and ashes blowing in the wind.
My mom started smoking in adolescence, one of those time periods when genes are particularly susceptible, and died of lung cancer at age 60. Her parents smoked and died of cancer around that same magic age.
I was diagnosed in my late 30s–fortunately, with a slow-growing form of cancer–and a year later, had a child with a broken chromosome. She spent the bulk of her second day of life in open heart surgery, her first two months on a respirator.
As I shuffled back and from the hospital room in which my mom was dying and the intensive care bed where my daughter was struggling to survive, I cringed every time I passed the sign that greeted the ICU entrance: Funded by RJ Reynolds .
Should we thank you, Reynolds Tobacco? 12 years a slave, 3 generations and counting a victim…