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Smoking Killed Me: Albert Whittamore Posts Cigarette Warning as Dying Wish

Smoker's Dying Wish Granted: Morbid or Heroic?

Albert "Dick" Whittamore started smoking when he was young, and before he died from battling cigarette-induced emphysema at age 85, he had one dying wish. He asked that the words "Smoking Killed Me" be placed on his grave and his hearse. This was his last-ditch effort to warn others of the dangers of cigarettes, so they could avoid the unnecessary suffering he went through from the illness that was caused by this unhealthy habit.

I was a little shocked to read about this at first, so tell me what do you think? Is Albert's request morbid or heroic?

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inlove23 inlove23 5 years
To anonymous 13: I am also planning to be a nurse, studying cigarettes/smoking for over a year, and live with parents who have smoked since they were 15 years old so when I say this believe me: people are NOT going to quit unless they really want to (and even then it is hard). Nicotine is a crazy addicting chemical that is an be easily compared to hard street drugs (minus the stigma). My grandfather who was in the hospital dying from lung cancer even smoked on his death bed (in the hospital when it was allowed). I have told my dad over a million times how bad it is, cancer types, how much money it waste, blah blah but he won't hear it. Like I said people are not going to quit unless they really understand why they need to quit, and that they want to. I'm sure every smoker wants to quit, but it's defiantly not an easy path to take. Unless you have lived with a smoker/smokers you won't really understand the severity of it which is the reason I will never touch a single drug.
amnyr30 amnyr30 5 years
I don't think it's morbid, and in terms of it speaking to our youth about the dangers of smoking, I think it was a good thing he did. Unfortunately it probably wouldn't make many adults stop and think, and may even turn some people off. I have to say he was fortunate to have gotten to such an advanced age at all, and I hope he had a fulfilling life, despite that one major regret of taking up smoking in the first place. Recently an uncle of mine passed away from the complications of having been a lifelong smoker. He was only 48. I think if the smoking epidemic is going to be turned around in this country, it has to start with educating kids at an early age and in the most blunt and aggressive means acceptable. So bravo to Mr. Whittamore for taking a step in that direction.
Keke84 Keke84 5 years
It's not just the age, it's the quality of life. People can say it's the age, but do you really want to spend 30, 40 years of your life taking breathing treatments, bed ridden, on oxygen, paying for medications that only give you a little relief from the hardening of your lungs? All for lighting up for 10 to 20 years? My aunt passed away in December of emphysema and suffered every day of her life that she had it. It's a slow killer, a chronic disease, and it affects every one around the person who has it. Is he heroic for his message? Not in my opinion. He was honest. Unfortunately, people have been honest about this message for decades and the rates of people smoking have only dropped to about 25% and stayed constant. As for the people who have smoked for years and not had any side effects, there is a mutation in one of the P450 cytochromes (a key enzyme in the whole process) that may actually infer a sort of resistance to the harmful effects of cigarette smoke. I think the only thing that will be most effective in the "campaign" against smoking is preventing one's self from lighting up in the first place.
jultritz jultritz 5 years
As a former 17 year smoker (I quit 3.5 years ago), I thought about this a lot. I think that it would have had more impact if he had died at a yougner age - at 85, anything could have contributed to his passing. As a former smoker, I also know that these kinds of gestures don't make a difference. I knew that smoking was bad for my health when I started at age 15 and I knew it the entire time that I smoked. I had to be ready to do the right thing for my health and quit. Until I reached that point, nothing anyone else said or did or engraved on their tombstone made a bit of difference.
jenni5 jenni5 5 years
$9 a pack in NY and people still smoke....so sad! I think it's great that he sent this as his last message, so maybe he could help others.
bryseana bryseana 5 years
My mom's boyfriend coughs all the time from smoking and he's only 45. It's a difficult addiction to quit. It's really unfortunate that companies are making billions of dollars while their consumers are literally dying.
TADOW TADOW 5 years
Death is morbid. However you want to handle your death is your own business. This is heroic. Let people know that smoking will lead to a miserable death. Anonymous 6 - he did die because he was 85, but he probably suffered in the end immensely. Emphysema is painful, if you can avoid that pain and increase your chance of dying peacefully in your sleep, wouldn't you?
ellbeecee ellbeecee 5 years
It's honest - but it's not heroic. I support the concept behind it, but heroic as a description absolutely overstates it.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 5 years
Its honest. Perhaps it should have said "My refusal to believe that smoking cigarettes could harm me lead to my early death." I thank most people have a story or two about family members who smoked and died of complications from it and members who smoked and stopped and died and members who smoked and quit and lived to die another day. I know I do.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 5 years
Neither. I'm not going to qualify my remark, as I don't like to speak ill of the dead. May he rest in peace.
sideways sideways 5 years
I think it's both. My grandfather used to smoke but thankfully he quit. Sometimes people just don't believe other people as to how much the consequences outweigh the false positives of smoking (to possibly fit in). You can tell them and show them all of the scientific facts but they won't believe you until you can show them a real life example.
Spectra Spectra 5 years
I think it's really cool that he thought about that before he died. When my great-grandma got emphysema in her late 60's, she told all of us that we should "never start smoking those cancer sticks. They'll kill ya". She smoked during the 40's-70's when people didn't really know much better, but quit when she realized how bad for her they were. She died at the age of 76, but none of her grandkids or great grandkids ever touched a cigarette.
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