Goofy Momma’s, post really set me thinking today. Or rather should I say it make me reflect back on the numerous false promises I have made to myself and a particular set of X, Y Z!
I know it’s a bad habit, a worse addiction and the worst compulsion to have – to smoke away your lungs to ashes. But then again each time I have been confronted the only plausible reason I can come up with to my defense is that I am not an addict! It’s true, I am not an addict, but then again it does not mean that I am those wanna be smokers who flaunt the stick (in the wrong way clumsily between their fingers!) just to be a part of the ‘cool’ and the ‘hep’ (that is what they consider it to be and not my view!
Then why do I smoke and how much do I smoke that I don’t qualify as an addict is that what you seek to ask? – I dunno why do I smoke – there are times I smoke because I like the taste the concoction of rum and BnH creates, sometimes I like the sweet smell of Qiwam on my breath and then there are times when I don’t smoke but fume so that I believe that the teary eyed me is courtesy the tobacco fumes and not my weak tear glands! But then there are times when I forget when was the last time I lit up!
I have been a part of the anti-addiction campaign in school, college – I have seen addicts closely and each one of them have repulsed me! I have seldom felt remorse for me, for lack of self control irks me! Peer pressure to me is never an excuse and neither are the demands of fitting in! I feel all such reasons are pseudo – we either smoke because we like it, or we smoke because of the deviant in us who wants to rebel!
I remember as a kid, my favorite pastime used to be playing with DadaBaba’s ciggy pack – emptying and refilling the contents would keep me occupied for hours (of course nobody knew that!). Then I loved when Baba used to make those little trophies, cups and other shapes out of the little golden and silver foils of an empty pack! I dunno when from sweet Charlie ciggies, which were my only way to red lips (does anybody remember those sugar candies shaped as cigarettes with a red butt?) I migrated into the deadly BnH, which leaves the lips in a tarred brown shade!
(Oh just a thought – I wonder how easily our parents let us have a cigarette shaped candy never fearing that we might think that it’s ok to smoke as an adult and play the make belive game as a kid. Now it would seem to be sending a signal to your kid that smoking is ok and hence never done – was it because of there confidence in the limited exposure of girl’s smoking freely?)
I have promised to quit, even lived upto it for a year and then again on a rainy night fallen prey to my worst temptation! Someone blames it on my weak will power, someone blames it on my wayward lifestyle, a lot on my introvert and independent lifestyle and I don’t blame it on anybody, not even on my own self, because somewhere I know that I haven’t smoked enough for my unborn to sue, me for!
Just like me the cigarette pack too underwent a lot of change. From the then most expensive Charminar only sporting a statutory warning in the minutest script ever, to the current lavish and posh ones with even cancer pictures to repulse smokers! The Anti-Public Place smoking law was thought to be a big welcome change, but guess the lawmakers messed up big time as to what actually accounts to be a public place!
And now with the recent Government announcement to curb FDI in the cigarette manufacturing industry, people think that again smokers like me will face the wrath. True people true, because it’s only smokers like me who’ll suffer and no one else. For still India will continue to have the worst cases of mouth cancers caused by tobacco, worst pictures will still be seen on the cigarette packs which will now be more and more expensive. While my mother and her like gleefully picked up the news, I somewhere couldn’t help but let out a small sigh at the futility of such a decision and the real game plan behind it.
Definitely this is Government’s way to secure ITC from foreign market players and help the former retain it’s 80% market share! The proposal was applauded at the Parliament I heard. But didn’t anyone ever tell these people that we the people of India who hold those slim white sticks in our hands only account for 19% of the tobacco inflicted population!
While it is true that India ranks 4th in the total Tobacco consumption in the world, it is not to be forgotten that India’s cigarette consumption ranks 11th in the world. Out of the total production, only 19% of the total consumption of Tobacco is in the form of cigarette whereas 81% isin other forms like, chewing, bidi, snuff, Gutkas paste, Jarda, hookah paste etc. The per capita consumption of cigarette in India is one of the lowest in the world in comparision to major Tobacco consuming countries like Zimbabwe, UK, Brazil, U.S.A and Pakistan. The annual level for demand of cigarette in India remains the same at 96 billion sticks as it was 15 years ago, despite the cumulative growth in population by nearly 35 percent during the same period.
Further Only about 20 percent of the total tobacco consumed in India (by weight) is in the form of cigarettes. Bidis account for about 40 percent of tobacco consumption (about 950 billion bidis), with the rest divided among chewing tobacco, pan masala, snuff, hookah, zarada and other mixtures. Cigarette smoking is essentially an urban phenomenon: 80 percent of cigarette smokers are in urban areas, while 80 percent of bidi smokers are in rural areas. Also, cigarette makers bear a disproportionate share of the tobacco tax. Though cigarettes represent only about 40% of India’s $12 billion tobacco market, they generated 80% of the revenue collected from the tobacco industry in 2007-08. The non-cigarette industry is fragmented, consisting of many small-scale players.
All the above goes on to highlight the illusion which we live by that people like us are at the greatest fear of our lives. Yes I admit that none other forms (apart from bidi) contributes to passive smoking but then again spitting out those gutka lumps is just as disgusting! In fact the latest government findings do show that a Rs. 5 pan spit over a period of 5 years costs the government rs. 1.44 Crores to clean up! As for the health hazards I am sure nobody over here needs the known rattle!
So what point am I trying to drive home? Or have I confused two issues completely? Nah just as one thoguht leads to the other – rattling (not justification) of my much hated habit lead me to the above thoughts!
Yes I admit that while people and only people are responsible for the self control they are to show while abstaining from such vices, I feel the government somewhere too sends the wrong signal. Somewhere it does help in creating the view that it is only tobacco in the most elite form that is the most concerning factor!
No I don’t mean that now I’ll turn to gutka or bidi please! Such a law which is in complete disregard to the prevailing condiitons would only bring cigarettes into more public attention! People already addicted will seek new ways to give in to their whims. Those who can afford will ask their peers to pick up a bundle from the Duty Free and the others will still seek for cheaper and more unfiltered brands for their respite. The bidi and the gutka population will chew away to glory and spit away to the heart’s delight!
It really sets me thinking when I see how little is being done in the garb of how mcuh is being done! For a really conscious anti-amoking campaign I feel first the Government needs to act selflessly- setting out clear laws and goals.
And as for the mirror that wispers that ‘charity begins at home’ – I reply it will surely begin after 2 years when I want little feet around my house and then it shall be strictly a “Thank You for Not Smoking” zone!
Till then I promise only to smoke when in the company of men/women who have already ruined their lungs like mine or their inner mouth walls too courtsey the Gvernment in addition to their own weak self controls!