Too many of our people smoke

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

This past July, I lost one of my cousins to lung cancer.

Her name was Muati and she was really dear to me. She was probably the one family member I knew and loved the most outside of my mother, brothers and sister.

She had a wacky way of doing things and taught me a lot. She was good to us and we lost her.

I’ve never felt so changed by the loss of one of my family members. It tears me apart to know that she’s gone for good and for such an awful reason – because she smoked. I was told she had a hole in her lung about the size of a tennis ball when she passed away.

When I heard that, I decided to quit smoking. My cousin Sue quit with me too. I haven’t smoked now for almost a month. The reason I’m writing this letter is because Muati wasn’t the first family member I lost to lung cancer.

I know it’s tiring when you are a smoker to hear other people tell you that you shouldn’t smoke, but now, I honestly wish I never had. I don’t ever want any of my family members to feel the way I do right now. I don’t want to die of something I have control over. It’s senseless.

Too many of our people smoke. Too many of our women smoke and too many of our young people smoke. I’m sure there have been studies done and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had the highest number of smoke-related deaths in the country (per capita.)

I’m writing this letter to try and encourage Inuit to quit. It’s not worth it. You’ve got nothing to lose if you do.

Lucie Idlout
Toronto

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