[ NOte from NOel : Sigh, another smoking blog from me, although this one comes after an uncle just passed away after a lifetime of tobacco. Please forgive my stubbornness, but if you can convince just ONE person to quit today, you will have made a profound change in the lives of two persons at least, the quitter and his loved one/s. That good deed will last you the rest of your life… lastly, does everyone agree that the dad of this unfortunate Sumatran toddler should be immediately relieved of his parental duties and sent to Libya to fight for Col. Gadaffi asap??? Thanks in advance for reading! ]
A MOST ubiquitous sight when I stroll down Main Ave Friday pm while waiting foresposa hermosa to finish her shift in this small Kiwi town (small by Pinoy standards I mean, it is probably one of the bigger towns in the Wellington region) are the clusters of people taking their ciggie breaks outside the office buildings, the teenagers stealing a smoke down the alleyways (while their folks are maybe doing the very same thing a block away), and finally the minors asking if you can do them a favor and buy a pack of smokes for them at the tobacco shop, which you politely decline.
Although non-smokers are still the slight majority in most societies like NZ‘s and the Philippines, because smokers are so visible and tend to stick together (misery loves company), because they grudgingly follow and/or flout the no-smoking rules as a group, they seem to be one amorphous, cohesive mass of individuals determined to assert their right to smoke and therefore their right to slowly kill themselves.
Not all the anti-smoking TV/radio/newspaper campaigns, health warnings and word-of-mouth horror stories of people dropping dead like flies with butts between their lips will stand up against the peer pressure of beholding all your mates puffing away, with you the lone remaining holdout.
We all know how prevalent tobacco smoking is back home, with all the calendars, street and sidewalk vendors, cheap cigs available, but it’s not that much different here. Subtle messaging on cinema, solid endorsement by role models and anti-hero figures, slick marketing and product placement on various forms of media, and most of all, street creds, gang mentality and the culture of toughness all embrace extensive tobacco use, both in itself and as a gateway substance to eventual drug use (sorry for the dim view on cig smoking, we are feeling a bit low now because of a personal loss).
If I seem a bit too hyperaware on the who’s where’s and how’s of smoking, it’s probably because I know where to look and what signs my sensors need to pick up. Back in university during our good old days, authorities looked the other way when it came to smoking, probably because political correctness was not such a barometer of how well to run educational institutions and because many faculty members themselves were notorious smokers.
If your professor was a smoker, you would have to tolerate his smoke along with his lectures, and by all means you were encouraged to light up yourself, as long as the item in question was only tobacco and not some other leafy material. Toilets were well-loved enclaves of nicotine addicts, male and female alike, and those good boys (and girls) who wished to relieve themselves were advised to keep their visits to the john short and sweet, and strictly business.
These days the taboo associated with smoking is harsh and strident, but the hardened smokers (and their hardened arteries) are given their due space and literally, a wide berth. They are duly ostracized and shunned by the smoke free crowd, but continue to hold court outside their office buildings, in the eternal twilight of basement stairwells, and know all the takatak (traffic) cigaret vendors on first name basis. We respect and acknowledge the right of smokers to assert their choice to smoke, their individuality to persist maintaining a nasty habit that impressionable youth should no longer be exposed to, and their universal right to act as irrationally as God allows.
But as everyone else on the planet should be wondering, do these rights supercede other organisms’ right to breathe clean air?
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Pity the clueless smoker, who is largely unaware that the conspiracy of Big Brother, Big Business, ad-hungry Media and macho-conscious Showbiz will do anything to suck chain-smoking masses and maintain billion dollar revenues, regardless of the unconscionable poisons tobacco perpetuate and billions more lost in illnesses, deaths and man-hours wasted.
We can always rely on the hard-headedness and tigas ulo of the recidivist smoker, who deep in his heart knows that unless he makes a life-changing and paradigm shifting decision to stop, can never stand up to the slick, chemically aided and continually evolving weapons of tobacco addiction. But the enlightened thinkers and leaders in society can at least level the playing field by using heavy-handed government policy, under the philosophy that those who have less in common sense should have more in law.
Thanks for reading !
- Quitting smoking similar to clinical depression: study (news.nationalpost.com)
- Depression-like symptoms found in smokers trying to quit: Study (canada.com)
- DrSugar Answers: Nicotine Withdrawal From Secondhand Smoke? (fitsugar.com)
- Smokers use vitamin pills as a license to smoke more (news.bioscholar.com)
- Could Being a Smoker Keep You From Getting a Job? (fitsugar.com)
- Weigh In: My Fiancé Won’t Quit Smoking (fitsugar.com)
- A Big Blow to Big Tobacco (fitsugar.com)
- Now on air: anti-smoking ads (timesunion.com)
- Licence to smoke: Taking vitamin pills may undermine motivation to reduce smoking (esciencenews.com)