Neither diamond nor gold nor even any other metal of outstanding worth is as valuable to human being as health. A good health is the greatest and finest gift of God. It is the most supreme donation man has ever been favoured with.
‘Health is wealth’ is a very familiar adage…the statement that touches the wits of common people.
A man can ignore its prized possession or can underestimate its remarkable treasure at the cost of his own peril.
Despite the truth known to all, there are people, all over the globe, who frequently disregard the ways and means that keep their health safe and sound; who mindlessly indulge in habits that prove fatal to body and hardly care about the gift given to them by God in the form of good health.
Regrettably, some people who fall under the identical category of denying the grace of God concerning health also reside in Libya. They consist of all age groups…be they teenagers, youths or the old-aged. All are utterly lost in their intoxicating blindness to ignore the most illustrious campaign of modern time, i.e., “smoking is injurious to health”.
Smoking undoubtedly is a worrisome phenomenon in the country. One can notice people puffing everywhere every time…restaurants, banks, colleges and homes. No place is immune from the dark circling snake of puffs. Lamentably, teenagers as young as fourteen also indulge in the habit that afflicts health in more ways than they can ever imagine.
Had the British novelist Charles Dickens been alive and had a chance to visit Libya, his remarks would have been the same as he had for the United States of America on his tour to the country over smoking. He was appalled by the nation’s perilous habit:
‘Washington may be called the head-quarters of tobacco-tinc-turned saliva. In all the public places of America, this filthy custom is recognized. In the courts of law, the judge has his spittoon, the crier his, the witness his, and the prisoner his’.
Is smoking blessing or curse? Is it pleasure or a poison? Is it an asset or an affliction? People, in general, are oblivious of probing such contemplating and contrasting queries in mind, otherwise they would have reached a logical conclusion to this man-manufactured disaster.
Acknowledged universally, the destructive influence of cigarettes lowers intelligence, school performance and lung capacity, and promotes insomnia, high blood pressure and bronchial problems. Scientific evidence also points cigarette smoking to lung cancer and overall higher death rate.
In 1964, New York City Board of Education published a report, Smoking and Health. The conclusions were sobering: ‘cigarette smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, smokers are nine or ten times more likely to get lung cancer than are non-smokers; the more a person smokes, the greater are his chances of contracting lung cancer; smoking also contributes to heart diseases, bronchitis, and emphysema’.
The committee also lamented, ‘Cigarette habit is more devastating to the health and morals of young men than any habit or vice that can be named’.
Soon cigarette packages were required by law to carry a health-hazard warning. By 1971, cigarette advertizing was banned from television and radio.
To equate smoking with alcohol or drugs as health hazards should not seem absurd, as each one of them is very inimical to health. In a book titled, ‘Free Conversation” by Colin Black currently prescribed in the Department of English, Teachers Training College, Zilten contains a chapter ‘Smoking, Drinking and Drug-taking’ which aims to generate viable discussion about how inimical they are to health.
In a more religious age, social activists fought alcohol; in our secular age, rational activists fight tobacco.
Smoking is “A gateway drug”, said a juvenile court referee, Claire Vermillion in the United States of America, “because smoking is risk-taking behaviour”. It is a risk factor, like many factors statistically associated with an individual’s chances of developing disease”.
People in general succumb to the influence of cine stars who puff away on the screen equating smoking with status, power, confidence and glamour.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (India) says, ‘Nicotine, the psychoactive drug in cigarettes, effects brain chemistry, acting as both stimulant and sedative to the central nervous system. It increases concentration and attires mood. In addition, it works fast.
Puff nicotine reaches the brain within eight seconds’. That is why a man finds it hard to abandon. “I feel trapped”, says Mukhtar Atia Salim Eghleleeb, a college-going student in Libya who tried unsuccessfully to give up smoking several times in the past.
Quitting is not easy, but it can be done. Getting off nicotine should be gradual, so withdrawal symptoms are less severe and relapse is less likely. The optimal treatment should also combine counseling and support groups with nicotine replacement medications such as nicotine chewing gum or the transdermal patch, both of which wean smokers off nicotine.
Youths need education on how detrimental it is to start this fatal habit.
What worries the author most is not just the issue of smoking. It is the issue of self-accountability. People excusing themselves for harmful addiction do not present a realistic explanation and justification to their irrational behaviour.
The best opportunity of the moment is self-rescue. One must admit that they are victims. They are victims of themselves.
They are defeating themselves unsuspectingly.
The fact is that, until one is ready to break the habit, none of the arguments proffered by anti-smoking advocates will have the slightest impact.
Renouncing smoking, no doubt, is a long term and painful process but sooner or latter the choice has to be made. How long one should allow inhaling burning fire within, that awfully hurts the centrality of life! How long one should allow within its own trap that constantly casts a shadow over life! It is time we act upon before it (smoking) acts.
Published online: http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=5&i=2999&archive=1