At Infosys Mysore campus, before any movie could start in the multiplex, we were shown a small documentary about a human being who lost his life due to chewing tobacco. We were subjected to advertisements flashing cigarette smoking is injurious to health. There was a disclaimer that showed tambaaku, paan masala, gutkha…sab jaan leva hai…aaj hi chodo. This was followed by some frustrating cries and long boos from the crowd. Trainees had gotten bored by watching the same ad again and again and wanted to see some action-packed or romantic movies. There was ample of time to smoke in Gazebo later anyway.
Every year, millions of people die globally due to tobacco. It has been predicted that this number will jump to a billion in the 21st century. A billion! WHO keeps bringing new reforms to curb this threat. Some control measures recommended are raising taxes, comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, smoke-free public and work places, cessation services to help people quit the habit and strong health warnings. Many states in India have banned the sale, manufacture, distribution and storage of gutkha and paan masala. Plain packaging has been proposed to remove the effects of colourful tobacco packs. In foreign countries, it has been seen that plain packs have increased human behaviours such as hiding or covering of packs, smoking less around others, going without cigarettes and increased thinking about quitting. Also consumption of tobacco affects our environment terribly. The fact that cigarette machines use four miles of paper per hour made me shake my head in disbelief. Wood fuel is burnt for curing tobacco leaf and paper is used for packaging. This leads to deforestation at an alarming rate.
I have seen addicted smokers around me. Crane your neck and you will notice them. Some smoke to let out their frustrations. Some do it due to work load, family issues and the resultant pressure. Some get bowed down due to responsibilities and start smoking. Some go to late night parties and because their friends asked them to dare, they smoked. I have seen good people who did not smoke throughout their lives, get addicted when they joined new friends/smokers. There are many reasons and excuses to start smoking and get addicted to it for a life-time. But it takes unbelievable efforts to quit it. And chances are high that if you do smoke, you will never quit it. Cigarette smoking becomes like oxygen. Required for a peaceful survival, doesn’t matter how painful or full of dangerous health issues your life may turn into later.
My dad smokes. He does it in the balcony and inside bathrooms. He smokes after drinking tea in the morning. He eats lunch, dinner and then smokes too. I glare at him angrily and always poke him whenever I suspect he is hiding a cigarette and a match-box in his pocket. My mother becomes mad at him at times for his addiction. We even go on to threaten him that if he doesn’t quit, we will start smoking as well in front of him. He becomes quiet and promises to stop smoking from next time. He appeals to us to let him smoke one last time though. He starts looking restless and the next day, he breaks his promise and goes back to smoking huge amount of cigarettes. I love him and I don’t want him to suffer later in some hospital. I’ll not be able to bear it. But nowadays, due to his hectic work schedule, he gets less time and fewer places to smoke freely. He has client meetings, sites inspection to do and most of the time he is in flights. I am a bit satisfied with this fact. I want him to work like this, though he complains of tiredness, because that makes him smoke less. I don’t know when he will quit it or seriously doubt that he can quit at all. I just pray to god that he remains healthy always and quit the damn addiction soon.
My mother keeps a sharp eye on my brother. She does not want her son to start smoking as well.
I don’t smoke. I have never felt the need to. And after seeing the effects of smoking on people around me, I will never smoke. Even if a person points a gun on my head. That kind of dying would be quick and less painful when compared to lying on a hospital bed with lung cancer and kidney failure. Plus I always hope that my future husband doesn’t smoke. If he does, I’ll try my best to make him quit it. I cannot shout at or abuse my father to make him quit smoking. That thing my mother does. So all these methods I will definitely try on my husband if he turns out to be a smoker. I’ll throw tantrums and will not let him rest in peace till he quits smoking. I just don’t want to land up in a position where my husband may smoke and come to me with his breath full of unbearable cigarette smell and I in turn, vomiting on him.
And for those who are reading this post and going to smoke later, please quit it. Else you will land up in a hospital for sure due to some oral or lung cancer. You know about the harmful effects of smoking and still you smoke. That’s ridiculous. Think about your wife/husband, your child or your mother. If you are committed, think about your partner. If something happens to you, how will they feel and survive the thought of losing you forever? Did your parents raise you, send you to good schools, feed you, pay your fees, give you freedom, love you so much so that you can start smoking later and make your own life a hell? Is this how you are going to repay them? If you quit smoking, your loved ones will be the first ones to hug you and you will be the happiest person on Earth. Period. It will be tough, to quit it. You will yearn for it and feel restless. When others will smoke around you, you will feel like to join them. But at such times, just glance at your family and they will stand by you like a barricade. They will help you and support you to come out of this addiction.
So quit smoking. For your own good.