Post Mortem

Smoking is just like a sugar-coated bitter pill

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/22/2020 11:59:06 AM IST

 Adapting to the emerging scenario, the cigarette manufacturers in the country soon have another mandate to benefit smokers. Besides the statutory warning and other relevant details, the packets will have to specify ‘best before’ or ‘expiry’ details, on the lines of other edible and consumable items, including medicines.

Yes, at last smokers too will get fresh cigarettes like those of consumable items. Sources in the Bureau of India Standard (BIS) said that research is ongoing on the subject as this is the long pending demand of tobacco and gutkha associations and even by the consumers. Thus, tobacco manufacturing companies instead of decreasing production of cigarettes have stepped up production adapting to new business era with new tactics. 

A data from World Health Organization (WHO) shows that tobacco use kills nearly six million people in a year. The situation is equally bad in India with estimated number of tobacco users being 274.9 million as per Global Adult Tobacco Survey India (GATS). This includes 163.7 million users of smokeless tobacco, 68.9 million smokers and 42.3 million users of both smoking and smokeless tobacco.

Cigarettes don’t really expire, but they go stale instead. When a cigarette goes stale it has lost its moisture in the tobacco and tastes differently.  Commercial cigarettes usually don’t go stale unless the pack is opened. So, work is on to incorporate expiry schedule or the best before date on the cigarette packs which will be in the interest of consumers as well as manufacturers.

Thus, this novel idea to bring back more people especially beginners into the vicious whirlpool of smoking is yet another attempt by the tobacco companies. Equally disturbing is the rampant use of illicit cigarettes which are smuggled into India. These cigarettes are often made by not keeping with the health standard and users of these kinds of cigarettes fall sick more often than we think.

Smoking is prevalent everywhere in the world and with the new technique of the cigarette companies; more people are attracted and lured in to smoking. Lungs can be very badly affected by smoking. With the start of smoking, coughs, colds, wheezing and asthma may appear in a smoker. Later it will lead to fatal diseases such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. The most baffling irony is that even though warning is printed on the cigarette packs, government is seen interested as if it has panache for promoting it.

Everyone, who has been smoking either for long or just started smoking, must know that smoking will surely lead to many diseases including premature death. My brother–in-law was a chain-smoker whose lungs at last reduced to like a lump of charcoal and his last days were very painful. The greatest message he gave before breathing his last was to give up smoking how great a feeling one gets in the beginning by smoking. Smoking is just like a sugar-coated bitter pill- in the beginning it is sweet and in the end it will be bitter. So, say good bye to smoking with a firm decision.

T K Nandanan, Kochi

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