A bunch of friends hanging around on a basket ball court, take a puff of cigarette intermittently; a young executive trying to meet deadline, pumps his adrenaline with a puff of smoke and a disheartened lover slumped in a bar drinks with one hand and smokes with another.
These scenes look familiar because they are so common place. More and more people have taken fancy to the jingle, “With cigarette in my hand, I felt like a man”. But going by the number of females who smoke, the word “man” can be replaced by “woman” in the jingle. An American study shows that more than one out of every five high school girl is a current smoker. At this pace, smoking women will outnumber their male counterparts.
REASONS FOR PREVALENCE
The prevalence and popularity of smoking is basically due to two reasons. One, the youth has misidentified smoking as a statement of being cool, hip and stylish. And second, people of all ages have found smoking as panacea for their mental strains. Smoking is no longer confined to any age group or society. Today swaying with the beats of music, only with a cigarette in your hand is panache. There is tremendous peer pressure and if you resist it, you are labeled “fuddy-duddy”. So the bandwagon of smokers is increasing by the day. There is now a new virtue associated with smoking i.e. “independence” which is trapping women in legions. Media has given impetus to this misconception. Women have been extensively targeted by the tobacco industry by making specific brands for them and advertising it through slim, attractive and athletic models. This is misinterpreted as social desirability and a statement of emancipation by the common woman. But the juvenile females fail to understand that these models are paid fat remuneration to hold that cigarette and create demand and while trying to match up with the models, the naïve women have to part with both their own wealth and health.
Every individual faces professional and personal highs and lows. But the lack of will power and tenacity leaves smoking as the easiest and most comforting alternate to face the bouts of depression. Nicotine in tobacco is a particularly powerful and effective drug delivery system. The nicotine within a single puff of cigarette reaches the brain within 10 seconds of inhalation. As it reaches the brain, it gives a temporary high that makes you forget all the stress and crestfallenness. Since women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men, the association of smoking and depression is particularly high in women. But while the effects of nicotine are experienced quickly they fade within minutes, which lead the user to dose frequently with cigarette.
LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
Smoking has appalling ramifications, which makes the governments, law and judiciary, health administrators, NGOs, friends and families strive to minimize its prevalence. Separate laws have been made to book anybody promoting such unhealthy cause. International conferences and debates are being held to dissuade people from its lure. Smokers need to realize that when unified steps of such magnitude are taken, there is definitely something alarming in their indulgence of smoking. Today the world is standing tall and united to fight the menace of terrorism. Any step to curb it is a welcome step. Addiction to smoking is even worse than a terrorist attack. The terrorist strikes just once and the game of life is over. But smoking paralyses you for life, making you completely dependent on it, causing minute by minute and hour by hour death. And we still let this rolled piece of paper overpower us with open arms.
It is not possible that a person who chooses to smoke is ignorant about its life-taking consequences. But we either undermine its addictiveness or over estimate our resistance power. The first cigarette is out of curiosity, the second is for fun, next few come from peer pressure or personal mental pressure and before you realize the packet is your necessity. There are certainly no two opinions about human will power and resistance. Even after incinerating your lungs for ten years, today if you decide to quit this slavery of cigarette, nothing can budge you from your decision. Your determination CAN and WILL resist any calling from the damned cigarette. But haven’t we heard, “Prevention is better than cure”? So why not use our will power to abstain from that 3” piece of rolled tobacco and beware of being its prey.
Statistics show that 2.5 million people die in the world each year due to smoking. Smoking causes one death every 13 second. Since 1950, there has been a 600% increase in women’s death rate for lung cancer, a disease caused primarily by smoking. More women die of lung cancer than breast cancer. Due to smoking women are susceptible to serious diseases like :
Osteoporosis- weak density of bones
Coronary heart problems
Oropharynx and bladder cancer
Cancer of liver and cervical cancer
“Creation of life” is the most mesmerizing and unique ability of woman. Every woman nurtures the dream to mother a child. But women who smoke do not realize how every cigarette takes them a step away from their dream and their gift of progeny. Scientific research has shown that smoking women are at an increased risk of conception delay, primary and secondary infertility and have a modest increase in risks for ectopic pregnancy and spontaneous abortion.
Apart from this, a child learns his first lessons at home and a mother is the most influential teacher. If a child grows up seeing a smoking mother, the future of his lungs is equally grim. In a child’s formative years smoking is reinforced as a part and parcel of life. Going by the figures, between 1965 and 1993, there has been a 23% decline in male smokers but female smokers have dropped by only 11%. The rising trend of smoking among women raises a serious question on the health and character of the present and future community. If women fail to resist the deceptive and fake trance of a cigarette puff, the future generation will have greater difficulty shunning it.
AWAKEN TO REALITY
God told prophet that tobacco is unique among substances in which people indulge in being completely harmful to individuals, family and community. Even alcohol has some benefit; though the harmful effects outweigh the benefits, but smoking has no benefit whatsoever. It is strange but true that man initiates smoking to divert himself from all botherations and then he needs rehabilitation centre to divert him from the botheration of smoking. It is an appeal to women all over the world, that this world is still very much in need of healthy and strong willed women who will first overthrow the wielding power of smoking from their lives and then come together to save their families and friends from the blinding shadows and smoke of cigarette. And those who are about to inhale their first puff, a peek into the pathetic condition of people struggling for life in the cancer wards and rehabilitation centers, may change your mind.