It’s National Kick Butt Day. If you live in a household where sports are important and you read the day, your mind might go to “win the basketball game”, as it is March Madness time. Wrong. It’s talking about kicking the smoking habit.

I smoked from 1970 till 1984 and there are still days I would like the comfort of lighting a cigarette. I tried many times before I was successful at quitting. I have a friend that quit eight months ago and every time we are together, she says, “I miss my best friend.” As she tells her stories, I don’t see her cigarettes as her friend, but as a companion to bear any emotion, good or bad, that she was having. I get it. I did the same thing.

I have a family member and a close friend that cough all day long and are still smoking. They each assure me they don’t want to quit. I watch them light a cigarette to celebrate, to drown their sorrows, and to alleviate stress. I get it. Sometimes I want to join them. BUT, when I hear them cough, I feel sorry for them. Give it up already, or kick that butt, I want you around as long as I am.

I grew up in the day that smoking was socially acceptable. All the movie stars had cigarettes in their hands in the movies, the advertisements on TV had people smoking, and the bars and bowling alleys were a blue fog when you walked in. We thought nothing of it. Then the health risks started being discussed, then emphasized. Now, I have become so used to not smoking that just smelling the residue on someone’s clothing is disagreeable to my nose. I think that’s a good thing.

If you are still smoking, please consider taking this day seriously and kick the butt habit, if not for yourself, for the loved ones that want you around a good long time.