Cigarette Kills Man, Leaving 3 Kids Fatherless

Heather Murphy-Raines

Heather Murphy-Raines/Scout's Honor
Smoking kills. We all know it.

As a social smoked-a-pack-a-year-in-college type, I was fortunate never to get addicted. Now as a parent, it horrifies me to think of being in a role where one's addiction takes precedence over one's child. I have known moms who were able to resist the siren call of nicotine while pregnant -- but puffed it up mere hours after delivery.

Do they not realize -- whether the child is in utero or not -- that they are leaving a horrific legacy for their children? Addictive personalities. Being labeled the smelly kid. Suffering the dangers of passive smoke.

That is ... if they even are around to make a legacy. Take Wall Street exec Keith Mastronardi, 31, of New York. He leaned out a window in his family apartment in Manhattan last Sunday to lessen the smoke around his 11-week-old baby and two other small children.

One minute he was there, another and he was gone. Five stories gone. 

His wife, 32, turned to check on their baby, but when she went to face him again, he had vanished. When she realized what happened, she became hysterical and was taken to the New York Presbyterian Hospital for psychological evaluation.

Sure, police reported the couple had been "heavily drinking." (Another vice to reconsider when living in a home with waist-high windows.) Yes, we all wonder where the window guards were. They're required by law, and seemingly imperative considering three small children resided there. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is investigating the case since city law requires that all windows in apartments with children under the age of 10 have window guards.

However, the simple fact is, without smoking, those babies might still have a father. Emotionally, my heart breaks for their beautiful young family. Mentally, I remind myself once again to talk to my kids about the unadulterated horrors of smoking.

Ironically, in a sad twist of circumstances, Keith Mastronardi's family announced funeral arrangements on the day he and his wife had planned on signing a deal for a new home.

Image via United States of Motherhood

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