It’s not for no reason that George Bernard Shaw defined a cigarette as a white long cylindrical object with a fire at one end and a fool at the other. Our young smokers may not know about this foolishness for they are enticed by the social macho or cool image of the smoker and so we may be doing a grave injustice to them to not make our case of the dangers of smoking or its implications to others - their friends, partners, and even young children who may be getting the brunt of the second hand smoke that spews out of the cool-dude smokers mouth. The parents that smoke need to understand that their children will follow their father's footsteps and in so encouraging them, introducing these young bodies to a future of ill health. True, our role models are our parents, our national leaders, our film stars, and our talented soccer players but our national team, just like those other heroes we wish to emulate, don't show the role model of a clean health chit when it comes to smoking. How much better could they be if they did not smoke? Yes, we will never know. But when the hurting starts, it will surely be much too late. Our public education programs must do much more than put a solitary doleful spot on TVM and for that momentary drop of advice to soon be obliterated by the barrage of other adverts that glorify the ego. On our streets, we need define our no smoking “sarahadhdhu” much more clearly, raise awareness more persuasively, and seek to strengthen our enforcement more wisely.
Youth are by nature mostly risk taking – thus, dangerous undertakings always seem exciting to us in this moment of exuberance in our life. And so there are few in their youth who would shun excitement. But who gets the windfall and perhaps the last laugh? It’s no doubt the shrewd tobacco companies! They take us daily for a ride with the Marlboro man – yes a slow journey to the grave, all the while showing the video of a life that is fraught with pleasure and fun. Young people of Maldives, let’s not allow the ego to dictate terms to us by making us deny the ravages of smoking. Don’t believe that it can be a lucky strike, or it will be a smooth ride with the Marlboro man or a romantic journey on that Camel? In fact, this enticing white long cylindrical object is the only thing in the market, when used exactly as advised, will kill you. How useful is that? The ways of the Ibilees are deceitful, delightful, and deadly.