The next day, my father did not buy any cartons of cigarettes. We told my mother that we would stop smoking, and I don’t remember mom ever being happier in her life. By smoking in front of her, we had poisoned her with our smoke—and passive smokers have it the worst, because they only inhale all of the nasty stuff, like tar, without even having the “reward” of the nicotine.
I felt bad that I had been a smoker for 16 years and that my smoking had hurt the people around me, including people I cared about, like my mother. While teaching at a private high school, I remember my students telling me that the exercises and their tests (which I would take home to correct and grade) smelled of tobacco. At the time, I thought they were crazy or lying to me (probably because my sense of smell was dulled), but they were right, and I can see that now.