Md. Sazedul Islam
Kajol Mia, 42, a resident of Kachhukhet in the capital, has been smoking cigarette for the last 10 years till date. At first, he used to smoke one pack of less costly cigarette daily. Now, he reduced the amount and uses only 5/6 cigarettes daily due to sickness. He has been suffering from cough, breathing problem, fever, loss of appetite and pain in his whole body for the last two months. A labour by profession, he visited the outdoor patient unit of Unani and Ayurvedic Medical College at Mirpur in the capital.
After checking his condition, Medical Officer Dr. Shazzadul Alam told the man that he faced the problems due to smoking.
Prescribing some medicines, Dr. Shazzad advised him to give up the habit immediately.
The man said that he would try his best to turn away. “But it would take time as I am a chronic smoker”, he said.
He said that he learnt the habit from friends, who inspired him to start smoking, while he had been staying at his village home at Tarail upazila of Kishoreganj district.
“It is difficult to avoid peer pressure at young age. The smoking gave no other benefit than giving the good feeling. Hence, I was compelled to continue the habit”, he said.
The story told that the man started smoking inspired by friends and it was then difficult for him to avoid the peer pressure. He got good feeling from smoking, for which he had been continuing the habit though it posed a great health risk. As he was son of a poor family, his parents showed negligence regarding his smoking.
Doctors said cigarette contain nicotine, a substance which makes it addiction to the users. So, it can be said smoking cigarette create addiction, for which the users continue the bad habit. Hence, the users forget the risk posed by the smoking.
Anti-tobacco campaigner Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam called upon all concerned to keep their vigil so that children do not fall victim to peer pressure for smoking.
Smoking is injurious to health and even it may end the life of smokers. Such a situation is never expected. So, vigil is necessary.
Tobacco products such as cigarette, gul, sada pata, pan masala (betel quid), khoini, jarda and nassi are mainly used in our country. All those contained harmful elements, which can pose serious health hazard even death.
According to PROGGA, tobacco use is more prevalent among lower income people in our country.
If the poor people face health problem, their presence at work places may be hampered, resulting in loss of income. Such a situation is like catastrophe to their families.
Take the case of another man, Nazrul Islam, an Advocacy Officer of an eminent national NGO. He, aged 43 now, has been smoking cigarette for the last 24 years till date. Though he regretted the habit, he cannot discard it as smoking gives him refreshment.
“As a conscious citizen, I know smoking is very bad, I smoke to get refreshment. Hence, I find it tough to quit. I acquired the habit after seeing smoking by my friends during my college life”.
Nazrul thought that effective steps need to be taken to root out the problem from the society. Some problems, prevailing in our society, made the matter of smoking easier. Tough measures are needed for solution, he said.
He cited the examples of Singapore and Thailand where smoking is not allowed at home and many other places and huge amount of fine is realized if anyone violate the rules. The rules are strictly enforced there.
“Certain places have been kept for smoking in those countries. Smoking is not allowed at any other places and huge amount of fine is realized in case of violation of the rules. Inmates also do not allow smoking at home. Such rules brought positive result in those countries and I hoped it would also bring the same if it is strictly enforced in our country”, said Nazrul.
The certain places, designated for smoking, may not easily be available to the smokers due to distance and any other causes when they desire to smoke. They would also refrain from smoking at other places fearing huge amount of fine. If the amount of fine is raised and tobacco rules strictly enforced in our country, it would undoubtedly bring a good result for tobacco control, he said.
A smoker may not easily go to the designated smoking places for smoking purpose, which may discourage them to go for smoking. On the other hand, if inmates take tough stance against smoking, smokers must be discouraged.
Giving his opinion, Advocate Aminul Islam (not his real name) said that he failed to smoke at his home due to objection by his minor son. He felt ashamed when his son derided him for the habit, which forced him to stop smoking at home.
Aminul also told that his father, who was a smoker, also stopped smoking at home due to opposition by his under-aged son.
On curbing smoking, Nazrul proposed the introduction of strict monitoring system by school teachers and guardians over students so that the students cannot resort to smoking. Strong role by all concerned can contain smoking.
In our country, the amount of fine for smoking in the prohibited places is less, people are seeing smoking anywhere they like and anti-tobacco laws are not enforced, said anti-tobacco activists.
While sharing their views, many smokers told that they smoke cigarettes mainly to get good feeling and refreshment though they know that the habit is not good.
Anti-tobacco campaigners said tobacco use never brings any good. Smoking may give temporary refreshment, but ultimately it causes long-lasting problems. Then, why should we choose temporary relief? If we want refreshment and good feeling, we can get it in many positive ways. We should not use the harmful things for getting refreshment. We should not seek pleasure, which ultimately proves destructive.
We all have to be serious and sincere to find out ways of putting an end to smoking.
Addiction Management and Integrated Care (AMIC), tobacco prevention institution of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, suggested following steps in this regard. The smoker himself has to take decision of discontinuing the habit. Discussion on means of avoiding smoking can be held with those who have already deserted the habit. Frank discussion on quitting smoking can be held with family members or close ones. It is needed to take cooperation of all for discarding the bad habit.
Try to avoid those places which remind you of the matter of smoking. You have to fix a certain date for forsaking smoking. One day before forsaking, all cigarette packets, astray and lighter have to be thrown away. Keep busy yourself in various works on the day of quitting smoking. Thought of smoking can never be brought back into mind. Keep yourself busy in another work if the thought of smoking comes into mind. Amloki, betel nut, chewing gum or lozenge can be kept into mouth.
Boycotting smoking and other tobacco products can help us lead a healthy life. Tobacco use not only hampers our health but also causes great damage to our economy and environment. So, we should boycott all the tobacco products by removing all the barriers, which would help us build a happy life.
The Writer is a freelance journalist.