Today is World No Tobacco Day

Today is World No Tobacco Day

If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking, and loving, you don’t actually live longer; it just seems longer.

— Former member of the British Parliament Clement Freud

In 1987, member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) created World No Tobacco Day as a response to the global tobacco crisis and the diseases and deaths caused by the so-called ‘smoking epidemic’.

Since then, this special day has been celebrated each year every May 31 with the goal of spreading awareness about the risks of tobacco use and how we can make the world tobacco-free.

An estimated six million people die from tobacco-related ailments every year and that number is projected to rise to over eight million by the year 2030.

Despite efforts of WHO in spreading awareness to convince people to quit tobacco use, this is by no means a guarantee that the worldwide concern would be properly addressed and people would be saved from the risk or threat of tobacco-related sickness and death.

The Sustainable Development Agenda aims to reduce deaths from noninfectious diseases by a third. Diseases linked to tobacco are on the list, so if we hit the target, 2030 will be a year to celebrate (oh yeah!)—not only for our health but the size of our wallets.

Most may not realize that the average smoker drops around US$4,000 on cigarettes annually. I myself spend at least ₱49 a day for seven sticks of my favorite cigarette brand or more than ₱300 a week. So, imagine all of the other cool holidays you could enjoy with that kind of accumulated money spent on smoking cigarettes.

And we have a few suggestions (just saying) to help you quit. Let’s use World No Tobacco Day as a launching pad to a brighter and less smoky future!

IT’S easier said than done.

For most smokers, quitting the habit is like climbing Mount Everest and a near impossibility. I for one agree. I started smoking when I was in Grade School at down-to-earth Benedictine-run San Beda College on Mendiola Street a stone’s throw away from the Malacañan Palace in San Miguel, Manila.

During my school days, there were a number of vendors selling their wares at the gate of my school. We often bought candies and other things from them and one had various cigarette packs displayed. I got curious, especially since the cigarette packs were enticingly designed and I wanted that ‘macho image’ among my peers that I was already learning to drag a tobacco stick like an adult.

That was how I was introduced to the world of smokers and from then on, I have been puffing smoke until now—except that two years I stopped but only to get back to the habit when I found myself in the editorial of one of the country’s leading newspaper groups where almost everyone was smoking their favorite brand of a cigarette while writing their news stories for the day.

Tell me it’s a myth but there is something in dragging a smooth puff that invigorates the writing skills of most writers. I myself have found—after 32 years of being a journalist—that smoking one or two sticks opened my mind to writing ideas that inadvertently let flow the skills hidden within the wrinkles of my brain. And until now, whenever I found my thoughts were blank, I would take a break to smoke my stuff.

And coffee, too, helps. It seems (in my view) that smoking and drinking coffee complement each other.

With this in consideration, why would I stop smoking after more than three decades of enjoying the drag and exhaling the misty smoke it creates?

World No Tobacco Day or not, I beg to be excused and say sorry to our ‘no smoking’ advocates as smoking is the only remaining vice I have.

FOR your comments or suggestions, complaints or requests, just send a message through my email or text me at cellphone numbers 09054292382 for Globe subscribers and 09391252568 for Smart. Thank you and Mabuhay!

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