BRANTFORD, Ont. (CUP) â€” I have had an epiphany: smoking is not positive for one’s health.
This revelation may have occurred as a result of my 14 years of public education, my parents’ warnings and disapproval, the many discriminatory anti-smoking advertisements or even the graphic warnings on and inside the cigarette packaging.
I can, without a doubt, tell you that it did not occur through non-smokers telling me about their grand revelation. People tell smokers this known fact to enlighten them, to “save” them or to point out their imperfections.
But stating the obvious doesn’t enlighten people, nor does it grant one genius status; it makes you a fool, similar to “enlightening” someone about their skin colour.
Trying to save people by trying to make them quit isn’t saving them, either. About one in four Canadians are estimated to die from cancer, but I can tell you that the one in four Canadians aren’t all smokers. Nine in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. These factors include smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Newsflash: 100 per cent of Canadians will die.
There is no saving us because today, everything kills us â€” lead, plastics, sugar, falling coconuts (look out!). People will live the lives they wish to live. Pointing out another person’s smoking problem is only a defence mechanism to shelter your own self-conscious mindset.
Public smoking no longer affects non-smokers because smoking can’t occur within public buildings. Walking by a smoker outside will not give you cancer, but the cellphone held to your ear, the car fumes you breathe, the sun in the sky and even the chemical-laced food you eat just might.
I smoke because I enjoy it. Mixing it with the mental and biological addiction that makes it a problem, it becomes a problem I enjoy. Obesity is a problem, too, but if someone is happily obese, is it right to remind them constantly about the life-threatening problem? If you say yes, put yourself in their shoes.
Smoking does not affect people’s mental abilities. Someone can smoke without impairing their driving; they can work and talk and perform any task.
Imagine that you are drinking at a party and someone tells you the dangers of drinking and tries to get you to stop drinking. And this happens every time you drink. “That’s going to rot your liver, you know!” they chide you.
This would annoy you and probably ruin drinking for you.
I can tell you that it annoys me and ruins smoking for me, but I will continue because three years of being lectured and warned has not stopped me. I smoke, I feel, I eat, I sleep, I breathe, I cry, I smile, I walk past you, I sit beside you in class. I am not just a smoker, but a human being just like you.