Monday, February 28, 2011

I Want to Quit Smoking

Do you know what you inhale from the air? [Pic]

I think I have just smoked a cigarette or two, unwillingly.

I am a smoker, or more accurately, a passive smoker. Everyday, without lighting up a single stick, I inhale what is left behind by smokers around me. Whenever I am near them, I would try to keep a distance and retreat into my self-defined safety zone. Being away from the choking tobacco stench. I want to believe that I would be safe from the secondhand smoke. But, I know too well that I am merely fooling myself.

Many non-smokers are happy to check the "I do not smoke" box in their health declaration forms. They gleefully think that they live a healthier lifestyle than their smoking counterparts. Do they really?

WHO (World Health Organization) defines passive (involuntary) smoking to mean 'the exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke which is a mixture of exhaled mainstream smoke and side stream smoke released from a smoldering cigarette or other smoking device and diluted with ambient air.'

Many children are victims of passive smoking. [Pic]

Every year 'passive smoking kills 600,000 worldwide' and one-third of those killed are children. Children who breathe secondhand smoke are at increased risk of health problems such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, wheezing and coughing.

When a person smokes a cigarette, only 15% of that smoke is actually inhaled by the smoker. The other 85% goes into the air, and then into the lungs of those nearby. It is estimated that a non-smoker who spends two hours in a room where someone is smoking will inhale four cigarettes worth of smoke.

(Read media advisory issued by The Singapore General Hospital)

The deadliness of passive smoking has never been more certain. There are about 1.2 billion smokers around the world who constantly make billions others puff involuntarily. Year after year, thousands of passive smokers suffer health consequences but many remain ignorant about the seriousness of the matter.

'Passive smoking harms children more than adults' and the young ones are unable to protect themselves. They have no choice but to live with family members who feed them with dangerous chemicals. Secondhand smoke has at least 250 chemicals which are known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer causing). Cigarette smoke can stick on smokers and continue to harm young children who come into contact with them.

Smoking area clearly demarcated
with yellow lines. [Link]

The Singapore government is determined to make the city state tobacco-free. The National Environment Agency (NEA) spells out the 'List of Public Places and Public Service Vehicles Where Smoking is Banned'. Business outlets are required to clearly demarcate 'smoking areas' for smokers to be confined within (picture above).

The Singapore Customs impose a hefty sin tax on cigarettes at SGD $0.352 (aprox US$0.28) for every gram or part thereof of each stick of cigarette. SGD $877 million (Approx. US $687 mil) tax was collected from the smokers in 2010.

Brands such as Marlboro or Dunhill are going at around SGD $12 (Approx. US$9.40) in Singapore. In the neighboring Malaysia, you can get the same thing at only RM10 (Approx US$3.30). The huge price difference means lots of smuggling activities at the borders. In 2010, 2.3 million packets of contraband cigarettes were seized by the Singapore Customs.

Singapore is working towards a tobacco-free city.  [Pic]

The Singapore government is certainly not stopping here. Last year, the law was strengthened to ban more tobacco products and to step up public education in smoking cessation.

Yet, I think more can be done.

The harsh truth for passive smokers is that there is simply no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Passive smokers ought to learn to protect themselves and their loved ones. For example, they can teach the young ones to stay away from secondhand smoke.

(Read 'How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Secondhand Smoke')

More can be done to keep
our air tobacco-free [
Pic]

The law currently does not provide much protection for passive smokers. This is a big area to work on. A few days ago, an Australian court imposed a ban on a granny from smoking near her grandchildren. The move is very much welcome by those who know too well the danger of passive smoking.

The number of death caused by smoking is high, much higher than the number of death caused by AIDS, road accidents, drug abuse and murder put together.(See example of statistics)

To say that secondhand smoke kills is to make an understatement. Be informed.

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." ~Dalai Lama~


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2 comments:

Shala Ohms said...

It's true that passive smokers are mostly affected. The high stats could be lessened through actions such as the frequent use of e-cigarettes, e-cars and all other e's! Hehe. Good thing technology continues to provide beneficial products to solve our problems.

Blogger said...

Are you paying over $5 / pack of cigs? I'm buying my cigarettes from Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60% from cigarettes.