Sunday, July 25, 2021
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It’s time to kick the butt

Smoking poses one of the biggest threats to public health. It not only adversely affects those who indulge in this habit but victims of passive smoking suffer as well. It is a common practice today to see teenagers smoke cigarettes/and consume alcohol of various brands. Some of them even chew tobacco and tobacco products. These young people fail to foresee the consequences of their actions when they drink, smoke, eat gutka or consume tobacco products.

When I was young, my best friend was caught for smoking secretly in the school toilet. His parents became quite depressed when they were informed about it. I tried my best to convince my friend to quit smoking but he turned a blind eye towards it. A few years later, he passed away due to lung cancer. This incident taught me that one’s teenage years are the most important part of one’s life. These years serve to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood.

The Centre has proposed a ban on the sale of loose cigarettes. The proposal aims to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21 years from 18. The fine on smoking in public places should also be raised from Rs 200 to Rs 1,000. The suggestions mooted by the Centre – the raising of the age limit and the stiff penalty – would certainly act as effective deterrents. But the idea of banning loose cigarettes will encourage people to buy entire packets. As a result, they are likely to smoke heavily. Restricting the sale of tobacco products to a few select places with a special license can prove to be more productive. More people should be made aware about the hazards of smoking. The solution to the problem should be a total ban on the production of commodities injurious to health. They include products like alcohol, gutka, paan masala, and so on.

Parents should also remain strict with their children to curb this habit. Schools should also take stern action against students who drink and smoke. The effects of smoking on human health are serious, and in many cases, deadly too. More than 4,000 different chemicals are present in cigarettes, out of which hundreds of them are toxic. These chemicals affect everything, from the internal organs to the body’s immune system. Nicotine reaches the brain within seconds of the smoke being inhaled.

Carbon monoxide binds itself to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells far more effectively than oxygen; thus these cells, which are supposed to carry oxygen to different parts of the body, are unable to do so. As a result of this, the heart has to work much harder to supply adequate oxygen to the body. Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption must be given up in favour of a healthy life.

Jubel D’Cruz

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