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Cassie Miller
Bayless Junior High
8th Grade
Runner‐up

Do me a favor. Close your eyes, and tell me, where do you see yourself in ten years? Will you have a family of your own? A house? A job? What kind of job do you plan on having? Keep your eyes closed and imagine this for me; you have a big house in a friendly neighborhood. You’re happily married, and have two kids. You are employed as a lawyer. Now, picture this; you are fresh out of high school, ready to actually start your life. But let me add one more thing…you smoke. Need I say more? You say you can carry on a family like the one you pictured even if you smoke? I don’t think so. Here, let me break things down a little more for you.

Let’s start with that fancy house of yours. It’s a nice house, right? It’s probably vamped with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a swimming pool in the backyard. How will you fund for such a house if you’re always buying cigarettes and/or tobacco? Sure, it’s only eight bucks a pack…but money adds up. Try buying cigarettes everyday for a week. That would add up to fifty‐six dollars at the end of the week! Think of the things fifty‐six dollars could pay for! So the house? Forget it! Think of something on a smaller scale, such as an apartment. If you’re getting overwhelmed, you’d better be ready because I have more up my sleeve.

Now we come to your marital status. If you smoke, will you even be married? Maybe, maybe not. Most people wouldn’t want to kiss a smoker because that would be like licking an ashtray. Uck! And also, most women would rather have their man buy them a ring, not a pack of Kools. Your spouse would most likely be a smoker themselves, because I don’t know very many people who like to hang around cigarette smoke. Whenever you light up, people shy away from the smell of the smoke because not only is it bad for you, but it’s just plain gross. If humans really like the smell of the smoke, don’t you think there would be a "tobacco smoke" scented deodorant? I’ll let you think about that.

In the meantime, how about we discuss that job you had. Again, we ask the question; will you even have a job? Here’s an easy way to answer that question; would you want to hire someone who stunk like tobacco, had yellow teeth and nails, and breathe that smelled so atrocious you would want to keel over and die whenever you smelled it? I’m thinking you wouldn’t want to hire that particular person. You would have to miss out on at least ten minutes of each of your work shifts because you would want to stop for a smoke brek. That would be a lot of work time that you’re missing out on in the long run. Since you would be missing out on so much work, a raise is probably going to be a little bit more difficult to achieve. Thus, surviving will be that much harder because you will have that much less money in your pocket.

And so, as I draw this whole ordeal to a close, I have one more question for you; is smoking really worth it to you? Hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people have died because they went down the path of being a smoker. Yeah, you might say that everyone has to die at some point or another, but you should live your life to the best of your ability and have it end its own way, not the way that involves tobacco. Only you can decide who you want to be.