With a Huff and a Puff, I’ll Blow Your House Down

We have all known about the dangers of smoking for a long time – it will be a reckless lie to say otherwise.
And we can all list the numerous adverse effects on health of smokers and those who surround them; the repetitive audio-file played at the beginning of most movies at the cinemas, such as – ‘Smoking Kills’ or ‘Smoking is injurious to health. Smoking causes cancer’, during which the audience murmurs to identify actor’s voice, often accompanied by a disgruntled sigh of boredom because “everybody knows that smoking is an unhealthy practice”. What most forget is that smoking is an unhealthy HABIT.

On World No-Tobacco Day, smokers across the globe are encouraged to abstain from indulging in lighting a cigarette. Some smokers share personal stories of physical ailments and mental discomfiture they suffered from the consumption of tobacco itself, or from the shame of being an addict; some motivate and persuade fellow-smokers to believe that there indeed is a silver lining because they are living examples of smokers who succeeded in quitting; some try to honour the day despite physical strain and not give in to smoking; and other smokers, smoke.

Artwork by Anumita Ghosh ( The Indian Artist )
Artwork by Anumita Ghosh ( The Indian Artist )

What is it that makes smoking so alluring? And why is it so hard to quit?

For starters, the age at which most people start smoking (irrespective of whether they know that smoking kills, or not) they certainly lack the capacity to assume it. And as far as quitting is concerned, that is where the science of making cigarettes comes in. Studies show that ammonia-based compounds are deliberately put in small amounts in every cigarette to increase the absorption of nicotine. When James Spader’s character took on the Big Tobacco in the American TV show ‘Boston Legal’, he argued that “[the tobacco industry] cannot advertise on TV, but hire PR agencies to hook them up with the film industry. …it is estimated that smoking in movies delivers nearly 400,000 adolescent smokers every year. [When a company] makes a product that kills off consumers, [they] have to find a way to recruit new customers.”

In the recent past, e-cigarettes have replaced the popularity of cigarettes because ‘vaping’ is considered safer than smoking tobacco. While the concentration of nicotine is a lot lower in e-cigarettes, experts continue to debate about the long-term side-effects of the same.

Tobacco is addictive. Nicotine kills. Nobody refutes these facts. However, the tobacco industry is an extremely profitable business venture and the lives of many employees and their families depend on the smooth-functioning of the same.

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Artwork by Arkajyoti Nandi ( The Indian Artist )

What very few people talk about however is that studies show almost 5 people die every 6 seconds, as a result of active or passive smoking. So, during the time you took to read my blog, another 50 or 60 people have lost their lives.


This blog-post is an entry to the “World No Tobacco Day –  Blogging Contest” organized by MANT and Kolkata Bloggers. I hope this was an informative read.

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