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SAY NO TO SMOKING

June 2, 2009

“Smoking kills”, “It’s bad for your heart, lungs and other such crucial organs”, “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health” etc. How many times have we heard such things? Yet it’s shocking to see that they seem to have little effect on people. The statistics of the number of smokers is indeed shocking. Smoking leads to various diseases such as lung cancer, oral cancer etc thereby killing the person slowly but surely.

ILL EFFECTS OF SMOKING

Cigarette smoke contains about 4000 chemical agents, including over 60 substances that are known to cause cancer in humans (carcinogens). In addition, many of these substances, such as carbon monoxide, tar, arsenic, and lead, are poisonous and toxic to the human body. Nicotine is a drug that is naturally present in the tobacco plant and is primarily responsible for a person’s addiction to tobacco products, including cigarettes. During smoking, nicotine is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and travels to the brain in a matter of seconds. Nicotine causes addiction to cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Thus you can see that smoking is surely a killer on the loose – out to kill anyone and everyone who are into the habit. But it’s not just the smokers that are affected by smoking. Recent research shows that even non-smokers will be equally affected by cigarette smoke. Inhaling the smoke coming out from a smoker makes non-smokers around them prone to all forms of cancer that can afflict smokers too; although a lesser degree.

WHAT SURPRISES ME THE MOST

The major thing which surprises me about smoking habit is this: what sort of gain do you get out of it? It’s just sheer, short-lived joy. I definitely agree that short-lived joys are needed in life as a part of memories; but should the short lived joys, which will be remembered throughout life, be at the risk of the life itself? Is it worth it to risk, sorry to lose your life in order to have short moments of joy? It’s this particular thing that has kept me away from it and also made me wonder what is it that they find so fascinating in it that makes them put their whole life and the lives of others around them at stake.

POSSIBLE WAYS TO SOLVE THIS MENACE

Well don’t think I am a cynic or something. But I feel that it’s not easy to eradicate cigarette smoking from the society. Sure you can ban it in public places. Does it mean they stop smoking?? Of course not!! They do it away from the prying eyes of the public: at homes, offices etc.

WHAT I THINK IS THE BEST SOLUTION

If really the Indian Government wants to eradicate this menace from the society, then there’s one solution that’s hard core and sure to face opposition: ban import of cigarettes and other such substances and indigenous production of cigarette and tobacco. And this should be coupled with a rigorous punishment if one is caught smoking anywhere for possession of cigarettes and other substances, which should be declared as illegal substances and also for posing a health hazard. This punishment should not be one of those simple ones that are trademark of India: the law is there but scarcely implemented. It should be like the trademark of countries such as Singapore where the law is the law: you break it you are in big trouble: nobody can save you. Such countries have completely eradicated smoking owing to the rigorous punishment and heavy fine that comes along with this act.

But then again for such things to happen in India will take a long time: the parliament itself will take 5 years to pass a bill on this matter!! It is most certainly a utopian dream: smoking free India.

But well I still think we should try to eradicate this: not through the soft spoken campaign method; but by presenting the raw facts about the ill-effects of smoking and of course the implementation of the punishment for doing so too.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO

Talk to a smoker if you know anyone within your family and relatives. Tell them that it’s not good for their health: how it affects the lungs, heart and other such crucial parts of the body. If the person is unrelenting, then tell him/her about the ill-effects on non-smokers when they inhale the smoke. Make her see that he/she need not put the life of him/her and those of the family members and pay for it, both in terms of loss of cash and loss of a dear one. Try to understand the ill effects and explain to people about the ill effects of smoking: on the smokers themselves and others around them. Ask them if this is how they want to thank those around them who care for them: by writing their death sentence?

(WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY was celebrated on May31st. It was declared thus by the World Health Organisation.)

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