I’m 1,110 days in, it’s about time I did this.
I’m not going to bore y’all with my story of getting hooked on smokeless tobacco, because it’s probably the same as yours. Tried it, got hooked, dipped non-stop for 20 years. Thought it was so cool, especially in Texas, yee-haw see I can hang with all you hunters and fishing buddies and golfers. “Can I bum a dip off you man?” was by far the easiest way to break the ice at a party or a hunt. I didn’t do a HOF Post the first time I quit on KTC (2011-2013 IIRC). I failed, came back in 2017 to an ass-whipping I deserved and thanks to Nov. ’17 and especially @69franx and @MikeP15 I’m over three years quit and have never felt better in my life.
Until last Friday. On August 7, 2020, I had a massive heart attack due to a 100% blocked right coronary artery. I was in the middle of a cardio workout and started feeling really light-headed and if not for my trainer and a hospital being six minutes away, my wife would be a widow and my kids without a father.
I work out 4-5 days a week, eat healthy and take medicine for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I haven’t dipped in over three years. But you know what? The shit that I put in my mouth for over 20 years contributed to the plaque buildup in my RCA that almost killed me. Over decades, my arteries narrowed undetected until three days ago when they decided that enough was enough. And this doesn’t even touch on oral cancer, gum diseases, tooth decay etc. that are definitely caused by smokeless tobacco.
And it should make you furious that the parent company of US Smokeless Tobacco, Altria, is worth $80B, and Phillip Morris is worth $122B and they keep profits coming by getting !kids! hooked on nicotine through multi-favored dips (cherry!) and e-cigarettes with flavors like Peach Tango and Vanilla Ice. It makes me furious that when cigarettes started to lose their popularity, the tobacco companies invested billions of dollars in vapes and snus and flavored e-cigarettes to lure people back in.
I’m so thankful for this site. If I hadn’t made the decision to quit, who knows how last Friday would’ve turned out? If I had that heart attack two years ago while hunting in South Texas or fishing in the Gulf, hours away from proper medical help, I shudder to think what could have happened.
It’s depressing, because there’s no way us non-smokers and non-dippers will have the influence and money that the multi-billion dollar tobacco companies have. They will keep taking advantage of human weakness to make tons of money because this is America and this is how the world works. But if this Hall of Fame speech could reach just one person or save a life, then I’m sorry I took so long to write it.