May 13, 2011

Do you smoke? Why and how did you start smoking?



It's May. Indulge me on this one. World No Tobbaco Day is May 31. Let me make som campaign against secondhand smoke. I do not smoke. But I smoked once. I smoked when I was attending high school and just for a short period. I was 15 years old and stupid. I wasn’t thinking straight. I was just imitating some of my closest friends’ habits. I wasn’t even that curious about it. My father was a smoker. He smoked since he was a teenager. Smoking behavior was familiar to me. I grew up watching my father doing it. So I guess I didn’t consider it to be a really bad habit. He smoked at home and burned curtains and bed covers lots of times upsetting my mom. He smoked both cigarettes and pipe. I remember that I loved the smell of fresh tobacco he used in the pipe. On the way to the beach each Sunday morning he smoked in the car too. He drove us, me, my sister and my mother, lots of times many places and always kept smoking.

My father and I. At this time he was a pipe smoker.
Tobacco packs and ashtrays were everywhere in the house. The car ashtray was always full of cigar tips and the car smelled really bad. My mother disliked his habit a lot and was always complaining. She wasn’t a smoker. I was never told not to smoke by my father or mother. As a baby my sister suffered from asthma and bronquic disease. Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood, and environmental factors play an important role in determining both onset and severity. Both asthma and respiratory symptoms (wheeze, cough, breathlessness and phlegm) are increased among children whose parents smoke. By the time I and my sister were children there wasn’t a clear understanding about the danger of smoking or secondhand smoking amongst population. Furthermore I do not think that my father or mother ever thought that I might even try it. I do not remember being told not to smoke by my father. It was only until I was last high school years when I picked Health subject as an option that I first learned about tobacco dangers. So, why did I start smoking? Several factors can lead to the consumption of tobacco and it varies from individual to individual. In my case I was clearly influenced by my peer group. In my family I had smokers and non-smokers. I did not have a strong belief against smoking but I knew it wasn't 100% good. I did not have much information on it either. Fortunately I quitted before I went to college. If not I know now that it would have become a problem. Smoking was expensive for a teen, I did not have much money to spend and I found other things to do with my fingers much more pleasing: writing and drawing. I still enjoy writing and drawing today and I never touched a cigarette again. When my sister was maybe 14 years old she convinced my father not to smoke. She enrolled him on a quit smoking program held at a local institution and she attended each session with him. At home he had the family support. He did not use any kind of medicine. He was 40 years old by that time and had been smoking all his life. He was successful in quitting tobacco consumption. he never smoked again even in more troubled life periods. Today he’s 70. Although he has some respiratory problems he’s fine. Now you know. This is one of the reasons why I believe that small children should be empowered with knowledge about secondhand smoking and smoking. They do have the means and the power to change adults’ behavior. It’s called love.

Me and my father on Sunday morning walks. He holds a cigarette, it was his faithfull friend, always there.
He was 29 years old when my mother took this photo. I was 2 years old at the time.


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