There, I said it.
by TRISHA RAI
Not only do I smoke but I damn well enjoy my habit. People say to me, "Such a beautiful girl so why smoke?" and "It's such a disgusting and stinky habit. Why are you smoking?"
I have seen the damages smoking causes in school assemblies and in commercials. Just for that second, I do feel guilty. After all, I am a human being. Smoking gives you cancer. Cancer kills. So be it! Even when I'm too sick to function, I still have to have a good puff.
Just like sex, smoking is still a taboo in this country, for us ladies, anyway! Men smoke in public but no one bats an eyelid but when we chicks hold a cigarette for a male friend, let alone smoke it, all hell breaks loose. Passersby point at us, say something to a friend and both give us the evil eye. When did a smoker became an outcast?
For that reason, if I have to smoke when I'm out, it's only in a taxi or in an empty eatery. Nonetheless, on Fridays, it's rare to spot a non-smoker. With a beer bottle in one hand and a cigarette in the other, girls these days do not have class. At least I don't glug beer straight out of the bottle. Girls smoke cigarette after cigarette and they can't even handle their drinks so when they're dancing, they're butting into people around them. (I've had to throw away too many stockings because of that.)They are besmirching the good name of tobacco.
'Nepal has brought in a new law banning smoking in public. The measure makes it illegal to light up cigarettes in airports, hotels, restaurants, government offices and other public buildings. Any sort of promotion or advertisement by tobacco companies has also been banned.'
Really? I do not welcome this ban because I am like 'a fish out of water' if I don't get to smoke. I am standing up for a smoker's rights. For MY rights. Don't I know the bad effects of smoking on my health? If I choose to smoke out of my own conscience, who are those people to control my actions? I can understand where this is coming from. Smoking doesn't only harm me but the non smokers around me. But why a blanket ban? Isn't that too harsh? Let's not forget about rights.
The ban is going to affect businesses. A small kirana dokan relies on the sales of cigarettes. What about the media houses who run by the amount of money spent on advertisements of cigarettes? Sometimes people don't think of the consequences. Tax heavily on cigarettes - I don't know about the others but I will continue buying packs. After all, isn't the corrupt Nepali government all about looting people and there are so many important situations to worry about so why this now?
How about consulting us first and then implementing alternatives to keep both parties happy like:
1. Minimum age restrictions.
The ban enforced by Tobacco Control and Regulatory Act -2010 has not been effective as there are still many people who have ignored this government directive. We are not dumb. We know where to smoke and where not to. I don't when there are children around or 'No Smoking' signs. We may be pushed out to the streets and people may walk by and sneer but that should not put you off smoking. If you honestly, one hundred percent, want to quit – that means quitting for YOU and not from outside peer pressure. While you're at it, please do not give me lectures on why I should too. Now if you'll excuse me, my pack of Suryas is beckoning.