Tuesday, June 28, 2011

“The puff ain't so cool, buddy”

Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Hello Wellness on  Jun 28 2011 5:31PM
 
Remember the time you were young and you saw all those big boys and girls standing next to their bikes, with cigarettes dangling from their lips? You wanted to join them too, be with them - become a part of their 'cool' gang. And so you tried your first cigarette. It made you cough so much that you wanted to throw it away. But you couldn't. What would your friends think? You were finally part of the ‘cool club’.

Slowly, the puffs increased, the coughs disappeared. You’d rush to the toilet for a fresh dose of nicotine. "Mom shouldn't know. She'll never get it," you thought. Lights, milds, menthol, non-menthol, filtered, roll-your-own  -- you tried them all in college. Soon, you graduated, got yourself a job. You found a 'cool' corner next to a staircase at the back of the office to hang out with your colleagues. Over caffeine, conversations and cigarettes you became companions. You started taking more 15-minute breaks. If your boss noticed your empty chair, you didn't care. He didn't smoke. He wasn't cool enough.  

And then you fell sick. The doctor told you to quit. "Smoking causes almost 90 per cent of lung cancer deaths." You knew that already. You promised to quit. And you tried. But you hated the hunger, headaches, anxiety and craving for cigarettes so much that you couldn’t. Smoking made you feel better, never mind the yellowing teeth and the stench reeking out of you. You went back to work, coughing through paperwork and presentations. You worked less, smoked more. Your boss counted the work hours you spent near the stairway. He gave you a choice – kick the butt or get fired. You’d cost the company a lot and that wasn’t cool!

You quit again. You made friends with people who didn’t smoke. You fought off the withdrawal symptoms with nicotine patches. You started going to the gym. Exercise became your new addiction. The more push ups you did, the better you felt. People liked your new physique; they appreciated your focus. They thought they'd never see you without a cigarette and so they waited for you to slip back into the stairway.

You told them, “The puff ain’t so cool, buddy.”  

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