Smoking tobacco causes unwanted, detrimental effects on the human body. It also negatively impacts the environment and one’s cash reserves as prolonged indulgence in this habit depletes one’s finances, STAFF WRITER BAKANI MOSOJANE observes.
According to research, smoking one packet a day for a year, results in about a loss of 55 days from one’s life.Those who partake in the habit of smoking, allow themselves to be susceptible to myriad health problems. These include lung cancer, stroke, throat cancer, and emphysema, amongst many other problems. Smoking doesn’t only affect those that partake in this habit, innocent people are vulnerable to the harmful effects of smoking, in the form of passive smoking. Passive smoking can affect those who do not smoke, as inhalation of tobacco smoke may make them susceptible to health complications as severe as lung cancer in the long run. Research shows it is very unhealthy for an unborn child to have a mother that is smoking. Pregnant women who engage in tobacco use, risk their unborn children becoming vulnerable to premature birth, birth defects, heart problems and low birth weight.
Growing concern of the negative impact of tobacco, has compelled the World Health Organisation to promulgate for the global observation of ‘World No Tobacco Day’ (WNTD), every year on 31 May. It is intend to encourage a 24 hour period of total non-indulgence from all tobacco consumption around the world. The other purpose of observing this day is to draw attention and highlight the widespread prevalence of tobacco use, and its negative health implications.
In light of the fact that, "World No Tobacco Day" was recently commemorated around the globe, a testimony from an Eex- smoking was be-fitting, as encouragement to those trapped in this horrendous habit to quit.
My Testimony and Struggle to quit
My name is Bakani Mosojane. I am an ex- smoker. I struggled with tobacco addiction for over two decades. What initially attracted me to this terrible habit was the way it was perceived socially as a cool, sophisticated practice that made one seem mature and alluring. The fact that there was the constant reminder on every packet of cigarettes that I purchased, that ‘SMOKING MAY CAUSE CANCER' , never deterred me from smoking, because, after all, the warning said 'SMOKING MAY CAUSE' and not ‘SMOKING DEFINITELY WILL CAUSE CANCER’ or ‘EMPHYSIMA’, or any other non-communicable diseases.
Also, when I started smoking, the media ban on tobacco products being advertised, had not been enacted. Thus myself, and my generation were constantly bombarded with radio adverts of various cigarette companies, that lulled us into the false sense of security that iftobacco is advertised over the radio and in magazines, then it can't be that harmful.
When I started smoking, I thought it was an innocent habit, and I could stop anytime. I realized I had a problem the time I actually decided to quit smoking and I failed dismally, as the craving for tobacco was so strong that it over powered my decision to give up cigarettes every time, and I could not help myself, but found myself buying cigarettes, although I desired to stop this terrible indulgence. When I realized my problem with smoking was actually a ‘Code Red Crisis’, it was when I realized that I was spending over P300 on cigarettes a month, and that my tobacco use was also beginning to compromise my health. I could not climb a flight of stairs without pausing for breath every other step, and jogging was out of the question, which saddened me because my growing up was characterized by an active involvement in sports. My lung function had been compromised by year's of smoking, even taking a long walk without running out of breath was a challenge. I finally decided to dedicate all my energies to quit smoking after a routine medical exam for a job at the mine revealed that my breathing capabilities were highly compromised after performing below par on a lung function exam conducted at a hospital. The doctor advised me to quit smoking with immediate effect! That was when my journey to quit smoking began - I tried almost every method I could think of to quit smoking, nicotine patches, nicotine chewing gum's, Quit Smoking tablets and other unconventional methods.
Some of these methods worked temporarily, they would assist for a brief period, but I would always relapse and go back to smoking after some time. The industry to wean people of tobacco use is a multi-million dollar business in itself, and I came to the realisation that instead of feeding this niche market, I should rely on myself and inner strength to quit smoking. What finally worked for me, after a 3 year struggle to free myself from tobacco addiction, was a combination of determination, willpower, and above all, prayer and GOD.
I have been tobacco free now for close to 2 years, and intend to stay that way. I have pledged to myself to never take another puff again !