...and then

Thursday, 27 May 2010

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.

Enough said.

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Blogger Sriganesh R said...

Good point! It certainly is an individual's choice.

And certainly it does generate a substantial amount of tax for the government and also provide a living for many farmers. It is a cash crop, fyi.

But having said that smoking does have an adverse affect. So it is only pertinent to 'educate' someone. And hence the campaigns.

But think about it, that too, provides living to the creative world.

Called the Zero Sum Game!

4:52 pm  
Blogger The Coffee Cup said...

I have tried and tried couple of times in the past to get the art right: A good long inhale, a few seconds on interesting smokey designs that flow out. I used to watch my friends just for it's creative quotient. Always found newer patterns and admired it. My attempts ended at chokes, coughs, a bitter, smokey taste and a few faint smoke lines that managed to slip out of my lips.
My efforts stopped there. Must say I've never been a big Ciggie-fan, attempted it mainly for the designer smoke rings. But then as with most other things in life, this too is a choice.
In Kerala, there have been so many efforts on bringing a ban on alcohol. Every year the govt gains its highest revenue from liquour sales. Do what you may, people will always find a way out.

5:01 pm  
Blogger Raj said...

No one can ban smoking. But i definitely support the ban on smoking in public places

Think about all the waiters & people who hate being a passive smoker. The right to question smoking is valid, as long as it is about saving few passive smokers. There is also a better way to look things that usually tread the line between affecting you and affecting others - Karma

Two posts one day - Welcome back !

5:24 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

Speaking from the other side, you know what happened to me? I was a not very infrequent smoker through five years of Uni and almost all my friends smoked so I was used to the smell.

When I got pregnant, suddenly I couldn't stand the smell, it made me nauseous. That feeling has subsided a little but to this day I still feel uncomfortable smelling it. Weird, huh?

Because of that and because I have a young kid at home I don't allow people to smoke indoors. They are welcome to smoke in the balcony though and they do.

6:03 pm  
Anonymous Spirited Seeker said...

I agree with Raj. I respect a person's freedom to be a smoker, and I would like the smoker to extend that same respect to a person who does not want to be a passive smoker.

I can't say how it is abraod, but in India, smokers pretty much light up anywhere - canteens, bus stops, dhabas anywhere, and without a by your leave.

I am severely allergic to nicotine smoke. One smaoke-filled breath in, and the next day I am on antibiotics. Considering this, sometimes I have to make the choice between falling ill and saying to a smoker, "Please smoke somehwere else." I guess one has to decide which is worse - making someone else fall ill, or not having the freedom to smoke in public places.

8:42 am  
Blogger Curry Pan said...

Christ, where did you learn to write, lady. I've been wanting to put my electrical engineering aside for a while - I'd love to write for children - not that it's very relevant to this post, but still.

10:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh? Even though you explicitly say "I don't advocate smoking", almost every other sentence in your post encourages smokers to continue smoking and inspires non-smokers to make the "right choice" towards cancer.

12:10 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Sriganesh: Welcome to the blog :) I have absolutely no issues with the campaigning or the education. I am all for it. My only problem is with instituting a ban on it. There're lots of other things to be banned, which are just as bad or worse.

The Coffee Cup: I love your description of things :) Don't worry, you haven't missed a thing not smoking. It's something that you either get hooked on at first try or not at all. And that's exactly what my post is about -- choice.

Raj: I don't support the ban on smoking in public places. There are ways to regulate air flow in an enclosed atmosphere. I think there should be a space for choice. Thanks Raj, it's good to be posting again :)

Sue: Ditto for me during pregnancy. Even today, if I am not smoking, the smell is really bothersome. Go figure :) And no smoking around the kids.

SS: I totally understand about lighting up anywhere. I think primarily one must be aware and ask around before smoking. It's courtesy you would do for anything else.

Curry Pan: I hope you meant it in a good way, that thing about where I learnt to write? :) I think you should start -- writing. Everything else will follow

Anonymous: If it encourages, that was not my intention. My intention was merely defence of smoking. I am all for education young children and teenagers about the evils of smoking. What I am against, however, is forcing adults to stop smoking. No government, no institution has the right to tell a grown up where or when she can smoke. "Right choice"? What are you talking about?

12:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is no defence for smokers and smoking!!!!!!!!!!!!!PERIOD

4:23 pm  
Anonymous sutz said...

Freedom of choice you say?? Ok.. So everyone who wants to smoke should be allowed to. And what about those who have to inhale 2nd hand smoke? Growing up with my dad n his friends smoking, I've had to deal with their smoke. That's not fair either is it? If u wanna smoke, go somewhere in isolation and do it. That's why it SHOULD be banned in public places.. Forget the obvious health risk, its every non smokers fundamental right to breathe clean air.

4:41 pm  
Blogger Judy Balan said...

@TRQ: I concur. Banning, preaching and nagging people to quit isn't going to change anything. Besides, it isn't really anybody's business. I mean, I really shouldn't be eating as much chocolate as I do, you know? I *wish* someone would stop me.

But then, the logic about getting on a plane and car, I somehow don't agree. I mean, isn't any amount of smoking bad for you? Like, if I smoke even one cigarette, I know it's probably affecting (or is it charring?)my lungs or whatever else, (even to the smallest degree), but when I get in a car, I may or may not die/meet with an accident. Isn't this about probability?

@Anon: Shush. No need to scream, now.

4:49 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

anon : Yes like Judy said no need to scream. There's enough space here for what both of us believe.

Sutz: I completely agree with you. See my earlier cpmment: courtesy, no smoking around the kids, smoking areas in public places is all i ask for. Non smokers absolutely have the right to breathing clean air, but smokers also have the right to have a good time and not feel guilty or trapped.

Judy: Muah. See the thing about smoking is also probability. Not everyone who smokes will die of cancer. I know many ezamples in my own life of people smoking a lot for a long time but fitter and happor than non smokrs. But yes even one single cigarette is bad for you.

6:17 pm  
Blogger TheFatOracle said...

Completely agree that no adult should be told what (s)he can or cannot do.

But public places - I don't know. Passive smoke has horrific consequences and having non-smokers including children suffer these pretty serious consequences because Paddy uncle wants to light up doesn't make sense. There's a reason you can walk around naked in some countries but can't light up in public places. Other than the fact that you may accidently burn yourself in the wrong places if you are naked and lighting up (as against the right places to burn yourself...), there are hard facts showing the effects of passive smoking.
A study where a few healthy non-smokers who first avoided tobacco smoke for several weeks then undertook a 5 hr trip in the smoking compartment of a train showed cotine levels similar to those who smoked 2-5 cigs a day.

- Exposure to tobacco smoke increases the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms and lower respiratory track illness - especially in kids.

I'll defend the next person's right to smoke any day but in a way that defends my right or my niece's right not to live with unasked for respiratory illness or cancer.

Buy your smokes, light up 15 packs but do it at home or in designated areas. That implies I am also saying that if public smoking is banned, designated areas should also be provided - makes it easier to enforce the ban on public-place smoking.

and...hi :)

1:38 am  
Blogger Arpita Verghese said...

and then there's this: the father who gave his toddler a cigarette. the boy now smokes 2 packs a day.


3:32 am  
Blogger starry eyed said...

There you are again!

I just blogged abt the ban a couple of weeks back! http://starsinmeyes.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/fire-in-the-mouth/

See, I'm all relieved about the ban on smoking for one reason...earlier, when restaurants etc. had smokers' areas, their ventilation sucked. The smoke drifted over to our table anyway. Not like in the US, where the smoker's section would be well-separated and ventilated. Often, we have even been seated in the smoker's section without being told.

An adult has a right to smoke, sure, but this is a habit that has effects on others too. I have a right to not smoke second hand.

Total bans definitely are counter-productive. But, like a smoker suggested on my blog, consideration and support is needed for those who want to kick the habit, not condemnation and judgment (like you said).

Great post, btw!

7:21 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummm...ummm i am part of the yay smoking ban brigade...not for moral reasons and my concern for the world falling pray to cancer that like u said is the smoker's problem and he knows it...i have a very simple problem...i sneeze incessantly when i smell smoke...So yay for bans...pliss dont hate me :)

11:47 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

TFO: I am aware of all the risks, especially to passive smokers as well as to children. And that is my point, that instead of taking away the freedom of one group of people, give them a place they can go to. You've said everything I was trying to say but in a less round-about fashion :) Love ya!

Arpita: That's just a sad sad sad thing. Children are sacred, they don't have a voice of their own to say that it's harmful to them. It is entirely an adult's responsibility to not do that to them.

Starry eyed: Just came back from your entry. Fire in the mouth :D so cute. Your last line is my entire point - consideration and support. I'll confess something. I wrote this because I felt like a hypocrite because I just did an anti-smoking story in my newspaper over the weekend. I couldn't rest till I had said what I truly felt, even if it to a different audience.

dropzofjupiter: You're so cute, ma. I could never hate you :)

4:05 pm  
Blogger Naushad said...

...and its about time somebody spoke on behalf of us smokers. Tobacco is taxed at about 100% ..that means in some countries the taxes can pile upto almost the total budget of an entire small nation. Tobacco industry is a huge eco system...think of the millions of people involved in the making of tobacco products, and that begins with the farmers, land owners, factories and entire supply chain to the consumer. People are okay to hog on all the fast food etc and children are hooked to aerated products and the unhealthy burgers for life! Tax fast food and let fast food come with scary images and health warning! Smoking ought to be allowed in night clubs, pubs etc. These are places where only adults are allowed. Create non smoking areas (and there are experts who do this by checking air flow, ventilations within premises etc). Its about time smokers and non smokers co existed in peace. On the other hand yeah...passive smokers die faster..so be a smoker and live longer ??

6:55 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Naushad: Thank you for that! All I am trying to say is we're all adults who choose to smoke and should be allowed the choice. Am so glad you made the point about there being experts to take care of ventilation in public places. You should have done a guest post.

11:01 am  
Blogger notgogol said...

Okay. Nuff said. Go smoke. Pah! :P

Did you know - you're not supposed to take cigar smoke inside lungs and all? Its not like normal sutta. Only make smoke linger in mouth it seems. Goes through blood vessels in mouth and all. So interesting, no?

Try try. U will like.

1:42 am  
Blogger Qais said...

Great post; its about time someone spoke out some sense on banning smoking in public. Every smoker knows the ills of smoking and the harm it can cause; for one to abstain from this would require a great call for action. While I was in Mct a month ago I was told by many that my health was a concern hence the ban on public smoking; if that was the case tell me; is there a toll free line that I can call and speak to a trained counsellor on giving up smoking; specialist centres where a smoker wishing to quit can get some help perhaps. Reality is a pack of cigs in Mct cost Bz 700; whereas a pack of nicotine patches for RO7.
Some of the comments on the blog suggested that we smokers should go in isolation and smoke; the same attitude can be applied to all vices in society then. As long as you are hidden or on the side you may do as you please. Just don't do it in public!

9:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think anybody is curbing anybody's freedom to smoke. The objection is about insensitive people smoking in public places and thats what we are trying to ban here, and not questioning anybody's 'individual choice' to ruin themselves. Period

11:12 am  
Blogger anubhuti said...

Hey, I just stumbled upon your blog through more and more blogs... I liked the stand that you took, not to support smoking that is, but to look at things from a wider perspective, rather than something those monkeys must have figured, in the beat up monkey story (i m sure you must have read it, if not, will share it with you sometime).
Anyway, it was lovely reading your blog. Looking forward to more from the restless quill, soon :)

3:42 pm  
Blogger Tamanna Mishra said...

Agree with everything you said here. I ranted about the anti-smoking brigade on my blog today. I can't stand the stereotypes attached with woman smokers, especially by people of the last generation - loose, even aching for a false sense of "power and control". Why these tags aren't associated with men smokers is beyond me!

And what's with those disgusting faces, really?

10:49 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Ng: Yes, you little nicotine newbie, I knew that about cigar smoke. YOu tried?

Qais: Excellent point about the support structure for quitting smoking!

Anon: Are you the same anon from before? Then I heard you the first time. Period.

anubhuti: I am SO glad you understood exactly what I was saying. SO glad. And do tell me the monkey story, A, I don't know it.

Tamanna: Amen. Nothing more to say to what you've said, girl!

12:58 pm  
Blogger TheFatOracle said...

Does blogger have a way of disabling anon comments? Annoying to deal with anons who want to moo without having to stand behind it.

6:58 pm  
Anonymous LEB said...

Well said. It is not like someone holds a gun on the head and demands someone to smoke. I am not a smoker, but I do not judge anyone about his/her choice. Because like you said, I do a lot of things which are not super good for me. Noone complains because it does not fill up the room ... like for e.g. with cheese.

1:11 am  
Blogger the mad momma said...

ive been told mine is one of the few non-smoking, almost teetotalling homes for smokers and drinkers. i have for some strange reason, more sympathy for them than the others, inspite of not being one. you just come and light up at my place okay? the rest can go jump!

10:08 pm  
Blogger Abhid-d said...

Hi. I read some articles on your blog. I think that they are not in good taste.

I shall be examining these kinds of blogs in a case study, at my new blog (which I started a few days back).

Thank you.

10:54 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

TFO: I love you. Giggle.

LEB: :D How does one come up with you just ended your comment with? :)

11:43 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

the mad momma: Heh heh, I will. But it's great that you don't restrict people just because you don't do it yourself. Courtesy works both ways, no?

Ahbid-d: Whose taste? Yours? Cool.

11:47 am  
Blogger Tamanna Mishra said...

How much nonsense people can talk for hits on their blog, ma! Chhiii cchhhiii!!!


11:52 am  
Blogger Tamanna Mishra said...

And I hope you know what I meant.. Now I am confused and wondering :P

11:52 am  
Blogger Abhid-d said...

Ms. Tamanna Mishra, the point of my posting here, was that I shall be doing a case study on such type of blogs, like

a) ...and then
b) Compulsive confessor
c) Watching the World Go By
d) (a blog by a 21-year old girl, who claims to be a 4.0 GPA, and "loves smoking" marijuana)

I agree that my blog is a few days old and I am indeed trying to promote it. However, I gave a message about genuinely studying the aforementioned kind of blogs, and therefore my intention was NOT to "talk only to selfishly promote my own blog".

I may include your blog also, for it has SOME content like the above.

Thank you.

1:51 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Abhid-d What makes you think Tamanna was talking about your comment? Or anything by you at all? For all you know she could be talking about a conversation we had on the phone.
But you've obviously not read more than a few posts on this blog. Also, you're studying Compulsive Confessor? Dude, she's got a book out, her blog is on its way to dying.

1:55 pm  
Blogger Tamanna Mishra said...

Thanks TRQ.. Dunno what to say. LOL!


1:56 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

Just what we needed to liven up this comment space. ;)

2:02 pm  
Blogger Tamanna Mishra said...

And AbhiD, I feel like a celebrity now if you are serious about putting me in the same bracket as TRQ and Compulsive Confession - thank you! :D

I'll be waiting.

2:07 pm  
Blogger CognitiveLocomotive a.k.a Thought Engine said...

Abhi-D: What you are meaning by such kind blogs? What's not in 'good taste' about this blog? What's wrong with smoking marijuana and getting a 4.0 GPA?

8:55 am  
Blogger Abhid-d said...

Hi. I see that my earlier post was not published here, though let me clarify that it was not to "humiliate" etc.

Mr. Thought Engine, my blog post is an academic study in the emergence of these blogs, because they follow similar patterns. In my view, these blogs deliberately write by such patterns, to attract reader traffic.

Otherwise, there are thousands of professionals in metros who indulge in substance abuse. But, "Hey look, I'm educated with 140 IQ and a 4.0 GPA. And I get so wildly drunk and high on pot that I feel like a Shakespearean poem !." Nobody will ever read this if its a 30 year old male. But if its a 21 year old female you may see the stat-counter increasing rapidly.

Thank you.

1:41 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Abhid: The only reason I didn't publish your previous comment is because I refuse to let you use my space as a peddling street for your blog. Which is what you are doing. There is nothing academic about your research -- based on a mere four, completely disparate blogs -- there's no trend or deliberation in my blog. If you'd read more than five posts, you'd have known what each of these blogs is about.

Your blog posts, for the most bit are opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. So don't fool yourself into thinking they're academic.

1:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

smoking is for total losers, it gives u nothing

3:48 pm  
Blogger Naushad said...

Anonymous - but seriously you actually had to post a very thought provoking comment eh!! (I hope you can sense the sarcasm in the tone!)

10:45 am  

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