Give us today our daily smoke
Cut the smokers some slack, okay? It's bad enough that people, especially women, wrinkle their noses and start lecturing you about the ills of smoking the minute you pull a stick out. Now, like a bunch of brainwashed dominoes, one country after another is falling for the smoking ban.
Look at what smokers have to face. Apart from tolerating really disgusting pictures that manufacturers have to use to mar their beautiful packaging with in some countries like India, smokers have to deal with being judged as
a) people who don't care about themselves
b) people who don't care about others
c) people who do it because they think it looks cool
They also have to tolerate all and sundry wax poetic about lung cancer, passive smoking, nicotine-tinted hands and teeth, mouth cancer -- you know the drill. Really, what is it about morally superior people who think they can make an iota of a difference in a smoker's life by saying things like, "Go ahead, kill yourself."? I say, do you say that when you get on a plane, drive a car, eat a burger? All this could kill you too, you know.
The very self-important and sometimes helpful WHO has chosen this year as its theme Women and Cigarette Marketing Tactics for their World No Tobacco day which falls on May 31. According to them, because the target audience -- men -- of tobacco companies is dying out rather quickly due to all the cancer they're spreading, they're now targeting women and youngsters. Apparently, women are a huge market for the many tobacco companies of the world, whose express aim is to kill the very people who buy their products. Seriously, what kind of psycho sits over there in WHO and comes up with connections like that?
However, I am going to the very filling of this pie that I am posting, the heart of the matter, so to speak. With the exception of children and teenagers, I feel people shouldn't be dissuaded from smoking. Run as many campaigns as your conscience-driven budget will allow you to educate the masses of the ills of smoking. But banning smoking is plain ridiculous. You can't force a single person to cut down on the smoking just because you ban it in public places. People will still step out for their hourly drag right in the middle of a meal if they so wish to. No ban can stop that.
My point is this: As an adult I know, realise, understand, perceive, see, internalise and accept that smoking is injurious to health. But I make the choice. Just like I make the choice to eat pizzas all weekend, just like I make the choice to jump off a bridge tied to bungee ropes, just like I make the choice to drive really fast when I am in a hurry -- all of this could kill me but I make those choices. I am a grown human being who understands the risks of smoking, unhealthy food, riding a bike without a helmet or casual sex without protection.
Every time a non-smoker says a smoker is going to kill herself or himself with cancer, I want to tell them, "Yes, I might, just might die of cancer but I definitely won't have a host of other diseases." From keeping Parkinson's at bay to preventing atopic disorders, smoking and tobacco does a lot of good. But where is the press on this? Nowhere, unfortunately. The scare of cancer due to smoking is so large that it's become a moral issue with most governments and sadly, the press toe the line. Just like the whole global warming scare, which I honestly think is a lot of misguided paranoia.
That said, I am not advocating smoking, especially to the young. I am defending those of us who smoke. I am defending the right to freedom. When you go on about how my freedom ends where your nose begins (or something like that) I have the right to say it back to you. That it's a free-ish world, and I'll smoke if I want to. Just like my smoke is offensive to you, your intolerance is offensive to me.