We were making our way slowly toward Honolulu International Airport on the Nimitz Highway. The car in front of us paused to let a young woman driving a silver van into our lane. The top of a car seat was visible in the second seat of the van.
The woman raised her left hand to thank the courteous driver in front of us. And there in that left hand was a cigarette.
For some reason, we immediately felt sorry for that baby in the back seat - whether he or she was present at that moment or not. A sad image from 20 or 30 years down the line of a young person watching his or her mother undergoing cancer treatment popped into our mind.
The issue of secondhand smoke - if the baby was in the back seat - didn't even occur to us until we reached the airport. But our exposure to the pain cancer puts families through made that little wave with the cigarette in hand very sad.
Cigarettes are one of the few legal products that, when used as the manufacturer intends it to be used, will probably kill the user. In fact, we can't think of another such product. Frankly, we don't understand how today's young people even get started. It no longer is cool and the scientific evidence of the health risks caused by cigarettes is irrefutable.
But, there is no question it is hard to quit once one gets started. As someone who was once addicted to cigarettes, we remember the several days of virtually climbing the walls when we quit.
Here in Hawaii, though, there is help for people who are ready to quit. The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline is available at 1-800-784-8669. It is a free service that will help you quit and support you in that effort.
If you are ready to quit, call the Quitline. If you are not sure, don't do it for yourself - do it for your family. Don't put your kids or your spouse through the pain of watching your cancer treatment.
(This editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.