May 31st, 2020
Years ago, my uncle was a heavy smoker. He was an amazing uncle for his tiny nieces. He took me and my sister to parks, bought us candies, and played with us. As a kid, I love our playtime, but I hate his smell so much. He never really directly smokes in front of us, per say. His clothes and body smelled like smoke though, and as I kid, I hate that so much. Smoke makes me suffocate in general and I dislike getting my hair smelled like smoke. At my aunts’ urging, I successfully convinced my uncle to stop smoking though the side effect of long term smoking habit had gotten its way with my uncle. His teeth are forever stained yellow from the chemicals inside the cigarettes and his voice had turned hoarse from inhaling smoke for too long.
Few months ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about the rising price of cigarettes in Indonesia. Last I heard, the price for a pack of cigarettes is fifty thousand rupiah, which is a lot of money for some people. This friend that I was talking to is a junior of mine, so I’d thought that it would be quite difficult for him to afford cigarettes since it has become so expensive. Turned out, I could not be more wrong. He easily spent more than three hundred thousand rupiahs per week, just to buy cigarettes. As a non-smoker, I was surprised, flabbergasted even. A second-year college student is willing to spend Rp300.000,00 per week just to buy something that’s only going to be burned in minutes. When I asked why, he only said that his mouth feels weird if he doesn’t smoke, so he’s willing to sacrifice money for the cigarettes. No matter how much I argued with him about the side effect of smoking, he stood his ground. Like my uncle, at the age of twenty, his voice is already hoarse and he smells like a cigarette all the time.
When I was surfing the internet, I found lots and lots of cases of people having to have a hole in their throat to help them breathe because of how much damage that their smoking habit has caused. Many developed lung cancer because of it too. Not few even struggled economically to fulfill their smoking habit.
As a non-smoker, I don’t know how it feels to smoke or how addicting it is because I never want to find out. I value my health more than I enjoy short term stress relievers. I’d prefer to do something else like eating out with friends or watching cute dogs videos that have zero side effects on my health in order to relieve my stress.
Moreover, with the growing cases of coronavirus, which targets the lungs, your health is more important than ever! If you smoke, your antibody weakens because you willingly poison your body with dangerous chemicals that tobacco contains. I know that just to stop smoking immediately is not possible. It’s a process and I know you can do it. My uncle did it and he never smokes even once after that and he is beyond okay now. If you happen to be a non-smoker but have smokers near you, beware of the danger of secondhand smoking. It’s worse than directly being a smoker. Keep reminding the smokers not to smoke near you and if possible to stop smoking.
The health and economic effects of tobacco smoking is too big for you to take. There are a lot more useful things to buy than cigarettes. There are a lot of better things to do than smoking. By stopping smoking, you help the earth with air pollution, you help yourself and people around you with your health and their health, plus you help your own wallet with less miscellaneous spending.
It’s not easy, but it is doable. Let’s stop smoking and save our earth, people you love, and yourself.
Me who worry about you <3
Written by Graciella Stephanie Ganadhi, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia