Lost to Smoking As I sat enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with my family, I took a look around the table and thought of those loved ones we had lost too early because of illnesses caused by cigarette smoking. Uncle George used to sit over there and talk about the Green Bay Packers, his trusty dog, Duke, sitting right at his feet and stealing scraps of turkey. Grandma Norma and I would talk about old movies and classical music, and laugh about the time she used frozen hashbrowns to make potato casserole. I remember one time when I was a little girl and I accidentally blew the ashes out of Grandpa’s ashtray. He quit a few months later. He died about a year later. We’ve all got those empty spots at the table that used to be filled by loved ones that didn’t have access to a smarter way to smoke. Loved ones that weren’t able to quit until decades after they started smoking, or loved ones that were never able to quit. For my part, I remember sneaking out onto the porch after Thanksgiving dinner to huddle in the cold with other smokers as the houselights glowed warmly inside. This year, I’m proud to say that I won’t be shivering outside because I’ve chosen vaping over smoking. What can we do to honor the memories of those we’ve lost? My family used to set out a plate for each person that had died. A kind of offering of love, warmth and inclusion. It started to sink in: these loved ones are not really gone. Not if we use the memories of their lives to learn a lesson about cigarette smoking, and to change our own lives if we currently smoke. I may not be able to argue with Uncle George about the Packers. I might not have Grandma around to laugh with. But I can come in from the cold. I can see the look of pride on my mom’s face when I tell her how I was able to quit smoking. And I can keep my seat at the table for years to come. Please take a moment to share the story of a loved one you’ve lost to smoking, or to share your personal triumph over analog cigarettes with the help of e-cigarettes as a smart alternative. We’re happy to have you as part of our family. We wish you and yours a happy --and healthy-- holiday season. Lisa Farver and your Vapor4Life family.