The Nicotine In My Cigarette
A cigarette is a very cheap luxury anyone can afford, well at least here in Bangladesh where the most popular brand, “Benson & Hedges” is priced at around a hundred and thirty Taka (our currency). Of course I am aware of the condition any European or American is in; they have to pay a lot for their cigarettes. However, that is none of my concern because it is the responsibility of the smokers to make sure that they get their cigarettes at the right prices. If they can’t get their governments to reduce the prices to a reasonable value, they really don’t deserve to smoke cheap cigarettes.
We all smoke! From the students to their teachers and their fathers to their uncles; from the voters to the politicians to the dying revolutionaries and their doctors to their lawyers.
Generally they smoke much more than the tobacco. Nonetheless, my main concern lies with the cigarette only. It can be helpful in so many ways; ways only the smoker will understand. With each puff, one experiences reduced anxiety and increased energy as the nicotine slowly enters the bloodstream. The first puff of the day is almost unexplainable to a non-smoker. Yes, I am a smoker. I smoked my first cigarette when I was sixteen; a while later than most of the people my age. Since then I have approximately smoked around six cigarettes a day on average — estimating the number at around seven thousand. From a more financial perspective, I have contributed around three-hundred and a fifty thousand Taka to the tobacco industries. Well I’m of that! It brings me such joy and surrounds me with the most unexpected of sensations that my happiness can be sensed by anyone within a twenty meter radius. Maybe that’s what lures the non-smokers to turn into smokers. I can trace the path which the smoke takes so clearly that with each puff I feel like I can control the smoke by adjusting my posture so as to maximize the volume of smoke entering my lungs.
No wonder it has been legalized.
We all know how harmful smoking is though. It kills. Not at once or immediately, but slowly with each puff I intake, it messes up my systems bit by bit. It is draining the small portions of my life which I do not really have the time to notice. Not only me but others around me as well. It is a solid statement if I said that I am contributing to a holocaust just like the NAZIs. I am polluting the air with non eco-friendly gases and affecting not only fellow humans but mother nature as well. The smokes from my cigarette contain many harmful gases, of which Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide are definitely worth a mention. The monoxide hinders our ability to intake oxygen by replacing oxygen with itself. Our blood prefers to take in the monoxide than the oxygen if it is given the choice. So the end result is that me and the others around me are deprived of oxygen and feel exhausted all the time; more so it can kill us in high concentrations. The dioxide on the other hand is of another league altogether.
It contributes to global warming.
The process by which it does so is irrelevant and I feel some may lack the intelligence required to understand it. The fact is that cigarettes are very harmful indeed. These thin little back-stabbers also can give me cancer and end me. The primary substance causing cancer in cigarettes is the nicotine. This is also the substance which is addictive. The chances of nicotine patches causing cancer are minimal but when one smokes it in, some chemical reactions occur in the lungs. These reactions give rise to cancerous cells and ultimately lead to cancers. It is a frightening thought and I have even considered quitting.
After all I think we all know better than to choose death over life.
I faced this dilemma for more than a week, but made no significant progress. I smoked less for a couple of days and then I made up for that by smoking extra the days that followed. In my head I know it’s going to kill me eventually. But I end up smoking anyway.
This phenomenon is known as “Cognitive Dissonance”.
Eventually I decided to just keep on smoking. If I smoke I will die but if I don’t I still die. The only difference is it may be a painful death and I may end up regretting smoking at the bitter end of my life; or it may be a good healthy death. The question that still remained was that “how will I know if I don’t regret smoking and dying a painful death rather than not smoking and dying due to natural reasons?” The correct answer is, nobody knows. If I could see tomorrow then I would know. The only fact that remains is that smoking kills, but you die anyway. I chose to smoke. Not because I hate life but because it is too short to not do the things that you want to do. Trust me when I say this, “I really love to smoke!” Oh! What would I do without cigarettes? I do, however, always keep in my mind where to smoke and when to smoke. I don’t want to harm anybody else because that is not my right. And as far as my contribution to global warming is, I really can’t defend myself on this note. This is the only valid reason I found for myself to consider to quit smoking. I don’t want to help heat up the earth. I live in Asia for god’s sake — it’s super hot in here!