102-Year-Old Woman Finally Quits Smoking, But Really, What's the Point Now?

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cigarette butts in an ashtrayA 102-year-old woman from the U.K. is in the news today for finally throwing in the towel on her 71-year-old smoking habit. Yup, upon turning a stubborn but very young 102, Clara Cowell told her family she'll stop smoking her usual three cigarettes a day. And when I say family I mean FAMILY! Clara's a mother of four, grandmother to nine, great grandmother to 12, and great great grandmother to four.

Wow, I don't know whether to applaud this woman, laugh at the kooky situation (I mean, really, you're gonna give it up at 102?!), or scream and pull my hair out, because it's crazy anomalies like this that give stubborn middle-aged or senior smokers like my parents an excuse to keep plowing through a pack a day. (Even though, of course, Clara's habit sounds like it has never been as extreme as that.)

What's even kookier is that one of her daughters supports her mom's dirty habit, sharing with The Daily Mail:

The secret to mum's long life is a cigarette and a cup of tea with whisky. That and hard work and poverty. She's an inspiration.

Ha! I'm sure she is, but come on now. Cigarettes play into her "secret to a long life"? You've got to be kidding us!

More from The Stir: Smokers Who Quit Before Age 40 Live as Long as Non-Smokers & Now There's No Excuse Not to Quit

Sure, it's kind of commonly accepted that more casual smokers can get away with their nasty infatuation for longer without getting sick ... My grandmother who passed away this past summer was a very casual, social smoker and never suffered any related health consequences as a result, as far as we know. (Although, it bears noting that her health deteriorated much more rapidly at a younger age than my other non-smoker grandmother who is doing amazingly at almost 93 ...) It worries me that Clare's story sends a dangerous message to seriously addicted smokers, who might think they can get away with what this fierce 102-year-old has.

Whether you've got kids, grandkids, and maybe if you're lucky, great-grandkids to look forward to, and you're still puffing away on a regular basis, I can't fathom how there's any excuse. The wisest thing to do is still to be safe rather than sorry and sooner rather than later, just freakin' QUIT!

How do you feel about Clare Cowell's story? Do you think it sends a potentially worrisome message?


smoking, general health


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nonmember avatar Cass

"Nasty infatuation?" Jeez, this is judgmental and bitchy. What she does to her own body is her business. I haven't seen any evidence that she smoked around any of her offspring, making it only her business. Good for her for choosing to quit! I hope it makes the years she has left better... Although it does concern me that she's subjecting her body to such a severe stress. Be supportive, not condescending- your way will only make smokers (quitting or otherwise) shut down, not listen.


First off I think she'd be great for a Never too Late To Quit campaign. But you're too judgmental to see the positive. You start off with "why bother now" to kooky situation to just quit (she did). Then you bang on the daughter. Have you told your parents why bother at their ages or just freakin quit? I don't think so. Why couldn't this be about a lady's accomplishment. Kudos Clare! You did it!

work4... work4mickey

Why do people who "do everything right" often die young? STRESS!!!

A casual/occasional smoker may be counteracting effects of stress. Everthing in moderation.

I would assume that her behavior was healthy in most other aspects of her life such as diet and exercise. She probably also lacked the genetic predisposition for conditions agravated (not caused) by smoking.

Simpl... SimplyEnchanted

you are never too old to quit a bad habit or to learn new things. GOOD FOR HER!

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