Reading Time: 4 minutes

A 14-year teenager, Minesh, opens our eyes to the grim dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco. In his passionate and emotional appeal, he calls for complete ban on the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and Zarda (tobacco for chewing). He spells out the dangers of tobacco, and appeals to his peers to think about the father and the family that spend so much on the education of children. But, they blow it all away in smoke. Here’s an article that should shake us out of our complacency, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

We all believe, smoking kills. If we believe, we implement it too. Down the ages, from the Mughals, Marathas to the English people, etc., they were the hereditary consumers of tobacco, who smoked to their heart’s content. Smoking causes one of the most dreadful diseases, the Cancer. It also causes brain tumour and paralysis. Furthermore, it causes blockage of the respiratory organ, trachea and lungs. The waste tobacco leaves (chewing) or smoke gets trapped in the lungs, in the form of liquid, which causes problem in terms of breathing.

Beyond this, I have questions to its manufacturers. If they write ‘Smoking is dangerous to health,’ implying smoking kills on every pack of cigarette then why do sell these product, which will kill human beings? Aren’t they trying to make money by killing people? Aren’t they becoming causing diseases and deaths? They are increasing the air pollution in the country? Do they have unholy links with various hospitals and pharmaceutical industry that manufacture and sell drugs and medicines? Aren’t they profiteering at the cost of the smokers or tobacco leave users (Zarda)? Are they serving the nation by causing innumerable deaths, thus trying to stop the ever increasing population? Is this a perverse corporate social responsibility of tobacco sellers?

The argument that smoking relieves tension is rather lame.

However, millions die due to smoking. But if one smoker dies today, two more would replace them. The ill effects of smoking are highest among teenagers and young adults. Smoking destroys their dreams in a very short span of time. All that their parents can do is shed tears and cry for the rest of their lives!

“What made him/her do this?” or “their upbringing wasn’t good,” and many such questions haunt their parents, forever. It adds insult to injury. Consider this, a teenager or young adult is half dead in an ICU. And at its window his/her mother is cursing the gods and still trying to get the youth back as s(he) was before. Alas! That ‘before’ never comes!

A father (read family) has big dreams for his son/daughter. He takes loan, pays high interest and spends most of his savings to educate him/her. While, miles away from him, s(he) lights another cigarette and enjoys the heady puff from a cigarette. Do you know, why? Perhaps just to prove to the peers that the youth is a grown adult, ready to take the mean world by its horns!

Smoking is perhaps as dangerous, if not more, as:

• Shooting yourself

• Jumping of the cliff

• Firing the White House

• Destroying the whole Mumbai city by with bombs

• Using ammonia and bleach your face

• Not eating or drinking for a month

• Putting your head inside a hot microwave and falling asleep

• Sitting in your car in a closed garage with the engine running

• Swallowing a lit fire cracker

• Drinking molten gold

• Going to outer space without oxygen cylinder

And if the manufacturers mean that ‘Smoking Kills’ then the government and NGOs must ensure that its production and sale is banned immediately. We are inviting dangerous problems, which would take monstrous proportions by the next decade.

The danger is staring at our face. A time will come when the percentage of smoke in the air would be greater than oxygen and other gases. Yes, smoking kills! It kills dreams, hopes and people!

What or when will we stop smoking?

Young Indian woman receives face painting to discourage smoking
Young Indian woman receives face painting to discourage smoking
©Minesh Santani

Pix from Net.

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