My 19-year-old son smokes. His breath, his clothes, his body, his bedroom, his car and his belongings are all saturated with the acrid smell of stale smoke.
He coughs at night. He coughs when he wakes up in the morning. He catches every upper respiratory ailment that makes the rounds. His appetite is poor, and he doesn't weigh all that much anyway.
He gets cranky and nasty if he goes for five minutes without a cigarette. Since he is not permitted to smoke in the house, he gets nasty about it with us.
He spends a lot of money on cigarettes, and he doesn't make very much to begin with.
The yard is littered with cigarette butts. There are burn marks on the porch floorboards.
The movies, music and entertainment venues/social circles he enjoys are telling him that smoking is cool, rebellious, avant garde, sexy, tough and fashionable. When he's in his "chip on shoulder" mode, that's what he'd have us believe, too. Yet I don't think I've ever seen anyone so miserably chained to an obnoxious, expensive, socially limiting habit in my life. He occasionally admits that he wants to quit and that he cannot.
Smoking is a lot of things, but glamorous and free are not words that come to mind when I see my son hunched over in the freezing wet wind trying frantically to leach nicotine out of a smelly little cylinder of burning paper....
And he is only 19.
There are few situations in life which wind up with you saying to yourself: "Gee, I wish I'd had worse manners there."