Monday, February 07, 2005


Go Puff Somewhere Else!

Cuba has just put into effect a ban on smoking in public places, but also, has forbidden the sale of cigarettes and cigars less than 100 meters away from schools, children´s day-care centers, young computer clubs and the like. The campaign makes intensive use of TV, radio and the media, highlighting the harm produced by smoking on people´s health.
About three years ago, I was having problems with my teeth. I had blamed it on work stress, very common in journalists like myself. But the dentist identified another scoundrel, smoking. I defended myself saying I really didn´t smoke that much, maybe four or five cigarettes a day. But he said something smokers rarely think of, that is, puffing away in a closed environment on other non-smokers´ breathing space.
I then reflected on the fact and quit altogether. I can tell you I began sensing a whole variety of aromas I was missing when I was a smoker, but also foul smells like bad breath and smoke taking away the oxygen my lungs and others´should be taking in.
Take my sister, for instance. She really puffed-away, in the range of two packets a day for too long. A smoking-related emphysema and the accompanying asthma reduced her oxygen intake progressively until a bad cold almost took her life. It is surprising how she is recovering just after two months. She has even gained weight and although nobody has made her promise she won´t take a cigarette again in her mouth, she is beginning to take this into her system.
The new Cuban regulations take into account that smoking is strongly rooted in a country land to the best tobacco the world over. There will not be any fines against violations, instead there will be a lot of persuasion.
Health authorities have revealed that while heart and vascular diseases have receded, lung cancer has increased, including among non-smokers that are compelled to inhale the tar and nicotine smokers puff out. If not for yourself, think about those other lifes you are putting in danger.
So go puff somewhere else!

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