Everyone, smokers and non smokers, is familiar with the morbid caption: “The Federal Ministry of Health warns that smokers are liable to die young.” In fact, the anti-smoking gang uses it as a weapon in their campaign. Besides, there are several graphic images on the consequences of cigarette smoking, from lung cancer to heart disease, but many are undetered. If anything, those who have nihilistic traits are thrilled with the idea of dying slowly. What makes it all the more interesting is how cigarettes have remained so popular, even though tobacco companies don’t do any major advertising. I mean, how do you even advertise it? Like buy these cigarettes but you’ll be digging your own grave, haha! So why do people still smoke cigarettes?
You’ll agree with me that there seems to be an aesthetic around smoking cigarettes. In old foreign movies, the characters are often always smoking and it made them seem edgier and sexier. So, somehow, it appears that we’ve come to associate smoking a cigarette with being, in popular terms, a baddie. It’s not uncommon to find this trope in movies that we watch even now.
Let’s bring it to our very own Nollywood. Old Nollywood has undoubtedly influenced the national view on smoking. The bad boys and girls were the ones who smoked cigarettes. One of the first signs of a character falling into the path of unrighteousness was them drinking and smoking. Summarily, it was a marker of bad character.
Where I’m heading with all of this is that there is a feeling of danger and rebelliousness attached to cigarettes. Therefore, many reach for it when they’re being defiant, for good or bad reasons. For a lot of people, going against societal expectations of goodness drives their actions. This way they can make a statement of non-conformity to whoever cares to pay attention, kind of like a power move. Smoking cigarettes can also add that element of danger to one’s personality, making them seem more interesting than they probably are.
Another reason why people may smoke cigarettes is anxiety. Many smokers will tell you about the calming effect cigarettes have on them or at the very least, an effective distraction. There is so much to worry about, whether or not you’re doing this adulting thing, and everyone has different coping mechanisms. One might argue correctly that cigarettes are an unhealthy way to do this but it’s a tough world out there.
An interesting reason people smoke is for companionship or the lack of it. Whether or not you believe it, it’s true. People are lonely and while a cigarette isn’t the most animate companion, it’s always there for you and comforts you. For others it’s a way to mourn the desolation that they feel. Generally, a lot of sad people smoke cigarettes.
Meanwhile, others exist who simply enjoy the feel of having a cigarette between their fingers, as well as the effect it has on them in the moment. People like this might smoke irregularly, off and on, once in a while or at social gatherings alone. Here, it can act as a confidence booster, a buffer in a weird situation.
Of course, we won’t bypass good old addiction. There are addictive substances in cigarettes which cause your body to release dopamine to ease the process. Dopamine is also known as the reward chemical. That is, it’s the chemical our brain releases when we feel accomplished. Cigarette smokers often use them as a reward system, consciously or unconsciously. So it’s not unusual to find a smoker relishing a cigarette after completing a task. Overtime, this becomes a consistent habit.
Anyway, there are perhaps many more reasons why people choose to indulge in a habit that’s unhealthy. However, whatever those reasons are, there are things to put into consideration when you smoke.
- Courtesy is important when you smoke. This is because not everyone can stand cigarette smoke. There are also those with health conditions like asthma. So, it’s only right you find a good spot to smoke or ask those you’re with if it’s alright to do so.
- Always use an ashtray or an equivalent. Littering places with ash is uncool.
- Don’t smoke in places with a no smoking sign. Those signs are there for a reason, follow them.
- Ensure your cigarette is properly extinguished before placing it down. You don’t want to start a fire.
- Consider your appointments, you don’t want to go into an interview, for example, smelling like smoke. For your breath, you can keep mints handy.
The truth is many smokers would like to quit but find it difficult to. The best advice is to not pick up smoking in the first place, for any reason at all. It might become a menace and most likely a health risk somewhere along the line.