by: Jhihara Marie Krishna Mamon


(Lights up a cigarette)

            Smoking. For some, it is just a bad habit—a routine that keeps on pulling us from time to time. Smoking also gives an impression of being cool and most of the time, it is the cause of cancer. Somehow, it is considered a menace to the community. But for us, smokers, it is a short commercial from all the stress and pressure that we faced and we are about to face. It is a moment where one can compose himself or herself again amidst all the chaos. Yes, it is a short escape from our reality.

Aside from nicotine, a cigarette contains carbon monoxide, ammonia, cyanide, and over 4000 chemicals including at least 43 chemical compounds that may cause cancer. Some chemicals include embalming fluid, acetone, lead and many more chemicals that are used daily and are definitely harmful inside our systems. The highly dangerous types of chemicals creep into our entire body and eat up everything resulting into different types of sickness. Yes, smokers, including me, are very well aware of those chemical and the risk of having serious sicknesses but how come we are not afraid? Are we really bad ass? Or is there something else?

I am an avid smoker and I am not afraid to say it. Ask me what kind of cigarette I smoke and I’ll answer without any hesitation including the numerous reasons why I have those preferences. But if you will ask, “what is it in a cigarette that makes you want to smoke?”That,  I can’t answer straight to the point. Although smoking helps me reduce stress and many more, still, I could not deny the fact that I am aware of the number of deadly chemicals in it and its effects in our body. I am aware that the risk is not worth every smoke I inhale. But one thing’s for sure- it is the satisfaction itself from smoking that I and other smokers are addicted to. It is definitely not the nicotine, the taste, nor the stench.  It is always the thought that after lighting up a cigarette or two, present situations could possibly become slightly better or lighter than they were before the cigarette was lit. Call it a lie from somewhere between our thoughts and reality, but we completely believe it.

I started smoking cigarettes when I was in my first year of high school and it was because of peer pressure and some family problems. Yes, high school. Yes, first year. It was my way of having a rebellious statement for all the challenges that life threw at me. It was just that. I stopped for a couple of years to give way for my athletics responsibilities. But on my fourth year in high school, I experienced a life-changing dilemma which led me back to smoking.

According to the article that I have read in, there are pros to smoking cigarettes. One, it increases basal metabolic rate which means some smokers may burn more calories and lose weight but  this still depend on their lifestyle. Another is that it could calm nerves and increase concentration which, in my opinion, is the reason why during stressful events or situations, smokers crave to light up a cigarette. Although the advantages are quite fascinating, let us not forget that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As I have said, lung problems are very prominent effects of smoking cigarette.  There will be no safety nets, always worst case scenarios. Moreover, by smoking, one increases risks of having cardiovascular disease, heart problems, and many more. Aside from that, we may not see it but let me tell you that smoking cigarettes also brings financial burden. One may spend 10,000 pesos to 20,000 pesos or more just for cigarettes in one year. This cost could be a great help if one spends it right. More to that, there is one disadvantage in smoking cigarettes that I would like everybody to read right now. I don’t need to explain it because I know that all of us, are capable enough to understand and explain why this can happen to a smoker. That worst case scenario, is, yes, death.

Smoking has different effects on us. For me, it became my guilty pleasure. It is my way of stepping out of the reality for just a quick moment and isolate myself in the euphoria of my comfort zone. Yes, I am fully aware of what I have just said and I hope you are too. Whatever your standpoint right now and if you don’t smoke, may I tell you that I am very proud of you for the discipline that you are holding upon yourself. Continue to live a healthy and beautiful life and don’t change paths. It will be worth it. And for us smokers, I long for the day that we realize that the effects of our vices are far worse that the gangrenes we see on the fully-coloured images of infected body parts that are placed on the boxes of our cigars. I also long for the day that the thought of breaking the chain of smoking will hit us and become a reality.

It is possible. It can be done.

            (Throws and steps on a half-consumed cigar)