The following article is the reproduction from The Guardian Daily issued on 20 December 1987.—Ed
I am grateful to my parents simply because they brought me up in a big family of non-smokers. Now I am 53. However, I have never touched even a cheroot and I am proud of it.
That is why, whenever I see young school children smoke cigarettes, I can not help but scolding them or pointing out the serious consequences of smoking. Actually, smoking, the undesirable habit, can cause dire effects.
In this regards, medical experts tried to emphasize that smoking is probably the biggest single preventable cause of ill health in the world, according to a booklet issued by the Department of Health in South Africa.
The smoker breathes in a dangerous gas, carbon dioxide, reducing the oxygen taken to body cells. Cigarette smoker slows down and later stops the action of the tiny hairs, known as cilia, that line the bronchital tubes and act as brushes to sweep dirt and mucous accumulate on the lungs, causing coughing.
Eventually, the bronchital tube may become swollen and the person develops chronic bronchitis. Moreover, air sacs become fragile and burst more easily in smokers and if a number of the air sacs burst, the smoker develops emphysema. Chronic breathless is a symptom of these diseases.
Nicotine, found in tobacco, makes the heart beat faster and the blood vessels constrict. It also causes a smoker to become addicted to tobacco.
It is also learned that cigarette smokers are nine times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. The risk is less for pipe or cigar smokers. The more cigarettes that are smoked and the earlier a person starts smoking the more likely he is to suffer from the lung cancer and heart disease.
Medical experts maintain that a smoker is nearly twice as likely to have heart attack as a non-smoker. Like people under 45 years of age, smokers are 16 times more likely to suffer from diseases of the heart and the blood vessels. Also other diseases more common in smokers are cancer of the bladder, cancer of the mouth and voice box. In addition, smoking dulls the senses of taste and smell and other disadvantages of smoking are:-
(a) Fire hazards, (b) Cost of cigarettes, (c) Air pollution.
Air pollution can cause other people to suffer from hay fever, asthma epidemic and sore eyes.
The medical experts also pointed out to children that smoking is not glamorous nor it is grown up to tough behavior. It is responsible for ill health, death and damage and is a habit that once started is difficult to stop or in other words it is easy to acquire, but hard to quit.
Now, some nations in the world spotted on smoking matters and marked as a centre of attraction. For example, countries like the People’s Republic of China and Belgium. The doctors in Beijing in August this year have developed a perfume using Chinese herbal medicine which they said that the perfume was tested on 100 people and found to be 98 percent effective in helping smokers kick the habit.
The “quit smoking perfume” also known as “magical quit smoking extract” was developed by the Beijing Modern Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinical Immunity Research Centre and is made from 36 Chinese herbal medicines. Chinese Doctors said, smokers who sniff the aforementioned perfume for 10 to 20 minutes every day will within three days feel decreased desire to smoke a cigarette and for heavy smokers continued sniffing for one to two minutes every day for another week will find themselves completely heal their strong desire for tobacco.
It has been approved by Beijing Public Health Bureau and has founded that it has no harmful. There came a surprise that a reporter of Beijing Daily was found his way at last to kick his 25 years’ old smoking habit after using the perfume. A country like Japan has already purchased the perfume as first batch. Other countries like Malaysia and New Zealand are reported negotiating a purchase from Beijing through businessmen and the cost of perfume is only 20 yuan (5.40 US dollars) per bottle.
The World Health Organization held its annual conference on 15th May this year and altogether delegates from 166 Nations attended it. In this conference, a resolution was promulgated to mark May 7, 1988 as “World No Smoking Day”, urging all nations to prohibit and to cease smoking and selling all forms of tobacco on that very date.
According to a recent report, smoking was banned in Belgium with a New Law introduced with effect from 1.9.87 for smokers who light up in public building will face stiff fines in future.
Under this legislation, anyone caught smoking in schools, hospitals, railway waiting rooms and cultural and sport centres owned by public bodies will be liable to a maximum fine of 18,000 francs (480 dollars).
In addition, restaurants were forced to reserve an area for non-smokers. The majority of Belgians welcomed the New Law and according to the pool sponsored by the Belgian Consumer Union Research Centre, seven out of eight adults who smoked approved that ban.
In this regards, a statement was also issued by the Belgian Anti Cancer Association, welcoming the Law but as the smokers did damage to the society, the price of cigarettes should therefore be raised in order to reflect the said damage done.
To my opinion, youth is a golden season of life. Youths are quite inquisitive by nature. Besides, they are ones who will shoulder the responsibilities of the leaders of today. It is for this reason that our golden youths should be brought up in good environment which is clear of poisonous smoke.
That is why the teachers at schools and parents at home should collectively join hands to educate our little dear ones not to get into the bad habit of smoking.
The author was born in Shwebo on 26-11-1933. He is a member of Myanmar Writer’s Association and a retiree from Myanmar Railways.