Do you smoke?

How time flies and how yesterday en vogue habits have become today’s nasty habits is. It was a symbol of intellectual stimulation but today, cigarettes are considered a poison with hundreds of toxic substances. This year, the world tobacco day event has been pegged on establishing a link between cigarette smoke and cardiovascular disease. Some people point to the warning on the packets; “Tobacco seriously damages your health and that of persons around you…”
Many are surprised that in spite of the much advertized warning many are picking up the habit. Smokers keep carrying on with the habit because they are addicted. Pictures of people whose health has deteriorated because of tobacco related products could do the trick but how many will resist the temptation?
Two years ago, the World Health Organization, WHO, talked about the need for Governments to subscribe to the plain packaging of tobacco products. The WHO holds that plain packaging reduces the appeal for smoking and believes it is a demand – reduction measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, it is intended to restrict the use of packaging as a form of advertising and promotion; limits misleading packaging and labeling and increases the effectiveness of health warnings.
But, give me a long break! Is it possible to prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names, displayed and product names, displayed in a standard colour and font style? If yes, is there any guarantee that making the packet plain would frighten smokers and drive them away from tobacco which firmly grips those who use the products?
There is a whiff of hypocrisy in the global anti-tobacco campaign. Tobacco products, especially cigarettes, have been widely shown to be dangerous to the health, leading to millions of deaths worldwide – a threat to the workforce and the economy. What beats my imagination is the fact that the furthest any Government has gone towards prohibiting the so-called poison stick is to ban smoking in public. Now we hear that cardiovascular diseases account for several deaths worldwide and that smokers are more likely to be killed than their non-smoking mates. We also hear stuff like passive smokers could be more affected than their smoking companions.
The Bohemian wonders aloud, is someone trying to take the children of the planet for a ride? Cocaine has been banned, heroin possession is criminal, marijuana trafficking, possession and consumption is illegal. But wait a minute! Is tobacco or related products like cigarette prohibited in this land of promise and glory?
After considering the issues around this tobacco palaver, I the Bohemian of Abakwa, born on the last day of the month by the shores of the Atlantic, in the land of the proud people this day declare; something must be preventing our rubber stamp lawmakers from securing legislation to ban cigarettes. Isn’t it true that cigarette manufacturing and sales companies are billion dollar enterprises that oil the economic machinery, and employ hundreds of millions of people who could be on the streets if Governments consider legislation to outlaw their job and products?
Cigarette smoke kills – that is true, but a disorganized healthcare system which has little or no infrastructure, equipment and expertise, plus poverty and ignorance kill at supersonic speed with genocidal consequences. Do you smoke? If you do brethren, then it is time to put the murderers out of business and surprise those who are simply preaching to play safe and not really because they are concerned about us dying. Tell me, do you smoke?
By Winston Lebga

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