I suck the stick 24/7…

I read somewhere ‘the best way to quit smoking is to carry wet matchsticks.’ A packet of cigarette comes with the statutory caution, ‘Cigarette Smoking Is Injurious to Health!’, but smokers can’t refrain themselves from puffing the cigarette, no matter how hard they try. I wonder how exotic it can be to puff a pipe with fire at the end and smudge smoke all over!

Becoming a smoker is just a matter of a day. An adolescent might just want to experiment how it feels to smoke, probably because he has seen his parents smoking or a peer infuses this habit in him or her and this experimenting then turns into a long-standing affair. Learning to smoke is like entering a bottomless pit… once it becomes a habit; it is very hard to get out of it. Students tend to start smoking at a very tender age these days because of the ‘cool’ factor associated with it and adults find in it a soothing stress buster! Celebrity followers also tend to get into the habit of smoking. It’s quite a shameful act, when celebrities set a bad example by smoking on screen. All in all smoking becomes an irrepressible habit that pollutes the atmosphere and the inner sphere.

World Health Organization has examined the smoking pattern and according to the trend, statistics show: (Compiled from WHO Report on Worldwide smoking statistics: www.quitsmoking.com)

Eastern Europe has up to 59% of adult male smokers, which is a towering figure.

Women smokers are relatively higher in Eastern Europe than in Asia Pacific.

Across the world, approximately 1, 00,000 kids start smoking everyday.

Tobacco usage kills someone in every eight seconds.

10 million cigarettes are sold every minute worldwide.

50% of those who start smoking in adolescent years continue the process of puffing tobacco for the next 15-20 years.

About 12 times more British have died from tobacco than from World War II.

Tobacco contains radioactive polonium that contaminates the lungs and this amplifies the tendency of lung cancer. The harmful alpha particles that the radionuclides in cigarettes emit generate bronchial cancer among smokers. Smoking causes heart diseases that can result in death and statistics prove that tobacco is killing millions of people every day. Smoking leads to multitudinous diseases as the smoke contains chemical compounds and carcinogens.

Puffing tobacco pipes becomes an addiction and it is a fact that smokers are aware of the deadly diseases that consumption of tobacco summons, but the addiction is too hard to forgo. It weakens the entire immune system and urges additional risks for women smokers.

A thought needs a puff: “I am thinking to quit smoking but to think I need a cigarette!”

Addicted smokers light up a fag to help them think better, unwind or to soothe their troubled nerves. There are individuals who light up 2-3 packets of cigarette a day. The nicotine is a colossal addiction, which intensively destroys the inner system while pretending to perk you up!

Smokers quit smoking every minute and the next minute they light up one, well aware of the statutory warning on the packets of the carcinogenic box, which is just an art of the manufacturers to abide by the law and incorporate the one-liner that means nothing to addicted smokers.

We are living in a fatal polluted world. The air we breathe brings indefinite pollutants and smoking only adds to this ever- increasing pollution. In India alone, approximately 120 million people smoke and deteriorate their own health and the environment.

The saddest part of smoking is that it affects the non-smokers as well. It is a virtually degraded act to smoke in public. Passive smoking in public areas is a threat to the non- smokers as the toxic contents of the cigarette pollute the surrounding. It is a severe health risk for infants, children and non-smoking individuals.

India has fortunately emanated an astounding smoke-free policy this year: A complete ban of smoking in public places to protect the non-smokers from the harmful effects of the nicotine stick has been introduced by the Government of India. Smoking in the streets would result into a fine of 200 Rupees, which is more than an average Indian’s daily wage. India has approximately 250 million smokers and the market for cigarette manufacturers is quite soaring, selling approx. 102 billion cigarettes on a daily basis. Mr Ramadoss, Chairman of GIPSA India is the star of this smoke-ban movement. He has introduced this acknowledging the fact that passive smoking kills and it affects the non-smokers, which is quite unfair. This ban has resulted in the abscission of smoking in workplaces, offices, airports, bus stops, restaurants and even the clubs and pubs. Hookah bars will also have to follow this rule and hence, they would probably go for a name change! Basically the ban will include any public place.

To quit smoking is a hard nut to crack… Not many have the nerve to get rid of the nicotine stick… But, it is quite unconscionable that non-smokers have to suffer from the harmful elements of nicotine just so that some people can enjoy a few moments of pleasure. The smoke-ban movement in India rocks! All depends on whether this can be implemented fairly and all-pervasive!

Upasana Mallick.

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