If I had a nickel for every time someone has told me I needed to stop smoking, I’d be rich enough to afford to smoke. I never doubted that they were right, but non-smokers don’t seem to understand that it’s not as easy as waking up one morning and deciding not to reach for a cigarette.

I’ve smoked most of my adult life and I did successfully quit once for about 10 years before picking up the habit again. Don’t ask me why because I can’t even remember why I started back.

It was probably the result of hanging out in too many smoky bars and breathing so much secondhand smoke that I figured I might as well produce my own.

I’ve tried just about everything to quit for the second time short of hypnosis and having my lips sewn shut. I don’t trust hypnosis. It might cure me from smoking but I fear the hypnotist might take advantage of the situation and I might spend the rest of my life clucking like a chicken each time the phone rings.

And as far as having my lips sewn shut, I figure the habit would force me to find an alternative such as sticking a lit cigarette in my nose.

But just when it looked like I’d never kick the habit by conventional means, I recently found a sure-fire product guaranteed to stop smoking for at least as long as you use it. And the best part is, it’s free and readily available wherever large groups of bacteria-prone people gather.

This wonder drug is called bronchitis, guaranteed to make even a two-pack-a-day smoker think twice about reaching for a butt. My doctor warns, however, that there are some side effects, such as a persistent, hacking cough that can lead to finding one or both of your lungs trying to jump out of your body through your mouth.

It can also lead to excessive mucus production, which will also try to escape your body through any exit it can find, including your nose while you’re trying to give a lecture in front of a crowded classroom.

But, hey, it’s a small price to pay for finally being able to quit smoking. Imagine a product that punishes you to within an inch of your life, or at least breath, each time you take a puff off of a cigarette. With bronchitis you are physically unable to smoke a cigarette, or even breathe for that matter.

So if you really want to quit smoking, I can highly recommend bronchitis. And I’m thinking there’s potential here for enormous profit if I can patent this before the drug companies figure it out.

So if you really want to stop smoking, see me. For $10, I’ll breathe on you, assuming I can work up enough air in my lungs.

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 201 Bishop Hall, University MS 38677 or by e-mail at marty.russell@djournal.com

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