I frequently tell people they should stop smoking. To me it is kind of a ridiculous thing to do. Everyone in our society knows it is stupid to smoke. When I ask people why they smoke, among the most common responses are “I’m stupid” or “I’m trying to quit.”
Needless to say, when I invite them to join the 85% of adults in California who don’t smoke, I feel it is a waste of time. They know they shouldn’t smoke. Most of them wish they didn’t smoke. If they were going to quit, they would. What good would it do for an emergency physician to tell them to stop?
The other night, I went into a patient room and introduced myself to a middle-aged man who said, “I know you. You were my doctor last year and you told me to stop smoking. I haven’t had a cigarette since then and I really appreciate you encouraging me to stop.”
Wow! I was really set back by that. Now I can use that as encouragement to continue to jab people about their smoking. Good luck to me as I try to keep up my efforts and good luck to all smokers as they try to quit.
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