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Smoking Cigarettes – Pros and Cons.

December 24th, 2010 by Isabela Mayer

pros and cons of smokingCigarettes are smallish white cylinders, filled with the dried leaves of the tobacco plant. Predominantly sold in batches of 20, the boxes they come in demonstrate a wide variety of colours and designs, from the ubiquitous red chevron of Marlboro to the arched dancer holding her tambourine, featured on the classic blue design of the French brand, Gitanes. Tobacco can also be bought loose in pouches and rolled into cigarette papers to approximate the aforementioned cylindrical shape.

Cigarettes are smallish white cylinders, filled with the dried leaves of the tobacco plant. Predominantly sold in batches of 20, the boxes they come in demonstrate a wide variety of colours and designs, from the ubiquitous red chevron of Marlboro to the arched dancer holding her tambourine, featured on the classic blue design of the French brand, Gitanes. Tobacco can also be bought loose in pouches and rolled into cigarette papers to approximate the aforementioned cylindrical shape.

For some, smoking is a pleasure. For others, it’s abhorrent. Indeed, smoking cigarettes has become a contentious activity, with health issues of paramount concern. For instance, the issue of smokers passing on their toxic smoke to the non-smokers in their community is, as they say, a hot potato.

Smoking is undoubtedly bad for the health and passive smoking isn’t much good either. But on the other hand, in a world full of pollution and man-made health hazards, created by smokers and non-smokers alike, should non-smokers dictate to smokers just how to live their lives?

And what exactly is the right way to live a life, anyway?

Why Smoke?

It is difficult to know the reasons why people smoke. Non-smokers could rightly point to the deleterious physiological effects that prolonged and consistent smoking undoubtedly have and wonder…’Why?’ Why on earth would we choose to physically do harm to our own bodies? Non-smokers don’t smoke because they might not like the tobacco smell, or have tried it and just didn’t like it. But generally they won’t smoke because fundamentally, smoking cigarettes is bad for the health. Is smoking a cigarette, then, a wilful act of self-mutilation, that at best merits derision?

It is often the case that we are not responsible for the environments we inherit, both socially and emotionally. Smoking cigarettes may be just one of the many ‘imperfect’ responses humans have to living in an increasingly ‘imperfect’, difficult world.

The question ‘Why Smoke’ is not an easy one to answer, indeed, it borders on the downright philosophical. If non-smokers wonder ‘why?’ (as in ‘Why the hell would you want to smoke?’), so too smokers may wonder, ‘why not?’. Or perhaps smokers may be tempted to examine their habit objectively and then ask themselves the question, ‘Just why am I smoking?

An Act of Volition?

But the fact remains that many people do smoke. Certain groups from most cultures in most parts of the world today have found occasion to light up. As we’ve seen, there could be many possible reasons for this:

-  smoking as a kind of ‘rite of passage’ displacement for the modern-day youth;

-  smoking as part of social bonding;

-  smoking as an aid to contemplation; ceremonial and ritualised smoking;

-  smoking as a self-destructive reaction to depression or unhappiness;

-  or smoking just for personal pleasure.

Smokers may smoke because they choose to. It’s an act of volition, an expression of an individual freedom to make choices. Or is it? One could argue the opposite, that smokers smoke because they are duped in to doing so.

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