DEAR ABBY: I quit smoking today. It may not seem like a great accomplishment to most people, but I'm 37 years old and have smoked since I was in seventh grade. Like many others, I tried for years to kick the habit, but I guess I never really had the proper motivation to do it.
I was looking at some photographs I took while my family was home last Christmas, and came to the last picture I ever took of my mother. We lost her just after New Year's. It was something none of us in the family ever expected. She had a massive heart attack.
Burying my mother was the toughest thing I have ever done. I don't want my kids to see me in a casket before I reach retirement age. Mother had very high blood pressure, for which she had been treated. We thought she was doing pretty well. Her treatment included quitting smoking a year ago. Unfortunately for her, she quit too late.
Please remind your readers that cancer isn't the only possible result of smoking. Smoking can also lead to high blood pressure that leads to heart trouble. -- SMOKE-FREE IN INDIANA
DEAR SMOKE-FREE: I offer my sympathy for the untimely loss of your mother. It's sad to say, but sometimes it takes the death of someone near and dear to convince us that we're not immortal. I commend you for your decision to finally quit smoking. If someone is looking for a reason to quit, your letter may provide an incentive.