Thursday, June 7, 2007

Get Smokey

Get Smokey
How do we make smoking uncool?
There's nothing quite as insidious as a cigarette break
— it's the make or break time in office relationships,
and you think it's the ultimate boredom-buster.
You think you need it and
can't quite picture life without it.
But it's not entirely your fault —
the addiction is as much physical as it is psychological.It's not just nicotine packing the killer punch
in your high-end cigarettes.
Lighting up creates up to 4,000 chemicals,
many of which are known carcinogens.
My personal favourite is polonium.
Yes, polonium, that same radioactive substance
which was suspected to have been used
to kill former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.So,despite all this,
why are people
willing to put themselves on life's slow burner?
What I've heard most often is
that you smoke when you're bored
— that it's a great ice-breaker.
No doubt, smoking is the great social enabler.
How many conversations have
been struck up with that first match?
Conversations that meander past the first few drags,
end in a companiable silence,
broken only by semi-satisfied grunts —
that you know the other person is there,
but you're more taken with your
intimate relationship with your cigarette. You can romanticize smoking — it's been done forever,
from old Hollywood classics to the Marlboro Men,
to singers/dancers/ actors, you name it.
Each is a hook that draws people in.
Especially kids — so much smarter than we'd like
to believe but still open to suggestion.
Cigarettes have been designed, pumped full of stuff,
to become as addictive as cocaine.
To me that's not cool.
Each cigarette, they say, is like five minutes of your life.
Now don't tell me that's a fair price for dealing with boredom.Apart from a move to label packets with
graphic pictures to deter smokers and fine people
who dare to light up while driving and that
whole eyewash of putting up signs that cigarettes
won't be sold to minors,
we have no clue how to deal with it.
These are largely pretend rules.I'm not saying we need the state to play Big Brother,
but we desperately need to figure out a
way to make smoking uncool.
Here are my two bits
— instead of mocking the zeal of the newly-converted
reformed smoker,
harness it.
Each one, reach one.
I've only reached three so far but then each puff,
or lack thereof, counts

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