We notice this sign everywhere but choose to ignore it: Expiratory distribution of partially ignited hydrocarbons into immediate atmosphere prohibited. Still clueless?
The sign says, NO SMOKING. Duh.
Once you’re addicted to smoking, you lose control over your cigarettes. It takes bulldoggish guts to turn thoughts of giving up, come to reality, and switch course. So you try patches, gums, and mint candies to no avail. You are hooked.
Nicotine influences changes in the brain structure that engineer addiction. In a study, addiction can kick in as early as the second day of initial inhalation. Even infrequent smokers would exhibit withdrawal symptoms when out of nicotine.
Smoking has its dark side; even a blind man can see that. A smoker is flirting with death. It’s just a matter of waiting, while savoring each puff, for the Big C to come knocking in, to be deep-sixed in one’s prime.
Young people, especially boys, have always been recognized by cigarette manufacturers as the primary potential consumer niche. It’s the vision thing. The allure of smoking stirred up by media ads breeds into the youth a man of the world image of holding a lit cigarette between their two fingers as part of a requisite “peer rule of passage.”
Smoking is an image thing, a fashion to look tough, cool, loose, and in control. It’s an unwise form of machismo and that is what addiction is—an ice breaker towards manhood, always starting as a fun thing to do.
Smoking is legal, cigarettes come cheap and are available at neighborhood stores. Then the fun becomes something else. It transforms into a downward spiral. You’re caught in a mousetrap, blitzed out on nicotine. The noose tightens.
Accept a few realities: gangrene, mouth cancer, neck cancer, throat cancer, asthma, or chances of having babies dying prematurely, fits of coughing akin to taking machine gun rounds in the chest—each probability a stomach-turning graphics detailed on a cigarette pack intended as a stop sign. It seems that these warnings don’t gross a smoker out of the habit. And granted that the Big C looked the other way, when you smoke a lot, you smell bad. It’s the “yuck” factor a smoker never learned. It’s as simple as that.
The lethality of smoking is non-selective; it goes beyond a smoker’s susceptibility to toxic diseases. Second-hand smoke (inhalation not far from a smoker) and third-hand smoke (smoke molecules that attach to clothes, fabric upholstery, carpet, curtains, and walls at home, office, and car containing toxic substances that may settle on such areas for some months) endanger children and non-smokers alike.
Be as it may, attempts at minimizing health concerns that cigarettes create, the nation’s regulatory programs barely scrape along in a political environment of interest groups, lobbyists, and stakeholders. By any measure, it’s a near-impossible challenge for lawmakers.
Many years ago, some optimists foresaw the arrival of “the days when communities will be smoke-free, when cigarette smoking becomes socially disgraceful, when cigarettes cease to be consumer goods and found only in a museum glass case, cold and unlit.” They did not figure out other people’s ingenuity.
The switch from smoking to vaping procreated a new tool that may upset the tobacco industry. E-cigarettes (or electronic nicotine delivery system), also known as vapes are now available.
The cigarette you smoke contains butane from the lighter fluid, methane, carbon monoxide, methanol, arsenic, ammonia, hexamine, cadmium, formaldehyde, stearic acid, and nicotine enough to kill a horse.
Vapers have lower biomakers of polycyclic aromatic carbons in their blood stream which go hand in hand with the evolvement of lung cancer as compared with those of cigarette smokers—once more targeting the youth with idealized images of long drags of copious white smoke smelling of candy flavors and bracing mint establishing in their minds that smoking via vapes poses lesser health risks.
Vapers, however, are susceptible to an incurable disease called “popcorn lung,” the disease contracted by workers in a popcorn factory thru inhalation of artificial butter. Diacetyl is a flavoring chemical used in e-cigarettes linked to severe respiratory diseases that lead to the scarring in the tiny sacs in the lungs. This results in shortness of breath and excessive coughing.
The nicotine in cigarettes and vapes have relaxation-inducing powers. Smoking and vaping create a pause, a stop, and a break from the dragging work load, likewise, from ennui. But addiction in any other form is still addiction. While smoking and vaping are not illegal, the habit is clearly wrong and the stakes are high.
There have been attempts at regulating smoking by allowing the use of less harmful alternatives such as e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products, and Swedish snus that equally provide the same sensation of nicotine. New medications are in clinical tests—Varenicline blocks nicotine receptors to decrease the urge to smoke, while NicVax is a vaccine that pushes the immune system to make antibodies that prevent nicotine from entering the brain.
It looks simple in theory. Reality is different.
The hardest part about starting to quit is just that: starting. Scrubbing the slate clean may take several zigzag attempts. Some come up trumps, others prefer to wallow in their rut, chilling out. There’s a good reason why cigarettes are called coffin tacks.
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