I have never smoked, hence do not know the benefits those who do derive from it. Interestingly, many who smoke know the adverse effects of smoking, which are a myriad and widely publicized, but find it very difficult to stop because of the addictive nature of nicotine in tobacco, used in making cigarettes.
Attempts have been made at governmental and nongovernmental levels over the years since the link between smoking and diseases such as certain CANCERS was established, in form of restricting cigarettes ads on print and electronic media, to outright ban on ads and smoking in public places, to strong warnings on cigarette packs of the dangers of smoking, amongst others to what appears now to be to no avail.
The cigarette manufacturers have also responded by exploring other avenues, especially new media to send their message through, even to the younger audience, and seeking out new vistas for operations, for instance when they found that they are hemorrhaging huge sums in western countries in lawsuits filed by the state on behalf of dying citizens with terminal diseases by reason of a history of cigarette smoking, they have relocated or set up state of the art facilities in developing countries like Nigeria (as with the Obasanjo regime between 1999 and 2007) etc, investing millions of dollars in the cultivation of tobacco by local farmers over choice of other cash crops or food crops that do not have the “health implication” baggage or tag that Tobacco carries with it.
From where I stand the war against tobacco use hasn’t been much of a success with young people being at the butt of campaigns by tobacco companies; even conservative and patriarchal societies like Nigeria has seen a rise in number of female smokers (as more females become assertive, wrongly viewing smoking as a means to a feminist end, sometimes ignoring other less destructive means that could be exploited to pursue their agenda), and they are getting younger by the day, mainly due to peer pressure and the waning of family values and control, as dysfunctional families now become norm, and the order of the day in many societies around the world.
Many nonsmokers like me have also had to grapple with SECONDARY SMOKING which has been found to be even more dangerous than Smoking, as one mixes with friends, family and accomplices who smoke, or find oneself in pubs, joints, clubs etc, were smokers have a field day, especially in enclosed areas.
Since tobacco companies have continued to modify their marketing skills and strategies to approach different and an ever widening niche, at every given opportunity, the anti-smoking community must also device time specific and niche-appropriate campaigns to counter these, if any headway is to be made in reducing the number of smokers, as obviously the threat to life message from smoking appears not to have recorded much success, needing that the message be tweaked a little bit, not with the sole aim of creating the fear of death (as some smokers may just be suicidal, and couldn’t care less) but such that people be made to think less about themselves, and more about others, especially those who love and care about them and vice versa.
This is my heipni worth of contribution for this years’ WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY.