By: Kylee Jones - Columbus, Bartholomew County

I have these memories of my family from when I was younger: peach cobbler will always remind me of my nanny Fern, Jeff Gordon and NASCAR racing will always remind me of my papaw Homer, and watermelon will always remind me of my papaw Ron. Cigarettes will always remind me of all three.

All three smoked since they were in the early teens, and all three died from smoking-related illnesses. I cherish my happy memories with each one of them. However, the memories that are etched in the back of my mind are the ones from their final days with us. The ones where the smoking-related illnesses finally took over, and my grandparents were no longer in control. My heart breaks thinking about their last moments; the moments when smoking finally won. Each one fought a hard battle, but in the end the illnesses were just too much.

Fortunately, my daughters are able to have a unique relationship with their one living great-grandma. I am so thankful that the girls get so many opportunities to spend time with her, like making crafts or cooking with her, because my granny is a two-time lung cancer survivor.

Her cancer also was caused by smoking for 42 years. Today she suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammatory lung disease and the third leading cause of death in the U.S. She still tries to stay active, however, and to make memories with the family, until the day that we all dread—the day that smoking wins again. Until that day we are making memories to last a lifetime.

Big Tobacco doesn’t care about those affected by their product. They just want to make money.

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