[dropcap color=”#dd3333″ font=”0″]I[/dropcap]n my opinion most smokers are aware of the adverse effects of tobacco smoking, but are either reluctant to quit or have difficulty quitting. Whatever the reasons are, they should have some etiquette to abstain from smoking at public places. As it is common knowledge, among educated persons, that secondhand smokers are exposed to the hazards of tobacco smoke as much as the smokers themselves, or even worse as the exhaled smokes may contain other toxic gases. If the smokers cannot quit smoking, let them smoke themselves to death, but the non-smokers should be safeguarded against involuntary suicides. Thus, I absolutely agree to the idea of banning smoking at public places. I may sound a bit blunt, but I mean no offence to the smokers. However, I was compelled to use harsh words to send the message through to those stubborn smokers and make them kick the undesirable bad habits. I humbly beg forgiveness from the readers, especially my smoker-friends, if they should find my article offending. I sincerely hope they would understand my intentions and good will in writing it. However, if this article could persuade someone to quit smoking, I would be much gratified and accept their wraths and condemnations gladly.
A few decades ago, in other countries including some of our neighbours, as the people are getting more and more aware of the adverse consequences of smoking, they started choosing where they go. They’d shun public places where smoking is not prohibited, especially restaurants and cafes. As this trend became more widespread and started to hit the businesses, some farsighted restaurant-owners started posting “No Smoking” signs, to lure their customers back. Their innovations are quite effective, others followed suit. Later authorities officially made it compulsory to prohibit smoking in all public places. To facilitate the enforcement of that restriction, smoking rooms and areas are designated for those who cannot stay away from smoking, to satisfy their cravings for the “killer nicotine”.
Everywhere you go in Thailand and if you are on the lookout, you are bound to notice that smoking in restaurants and cafes are nowhere to be found. Even if the “No Smoking” signs or logos with a circle with a diagonal line, imposed over the image of a cigarette, which is an international sign, was not in sight. This indicates that the public is aware of the consequences of smoking and voluntarily abstain from smoking. I deemed that a result of the awareness education programs. I believe this to be a familiar sight in other countries in the region, although it is a new experience for me.
Public places like hospitals, airports, train stations, bus terminals, riverine/ocean ferry terminals, some hotels, to mention just a few, in most of our neighbouring countries are prohibiting smoking. At some of the above mentioned places, provisions are made for smokers to pursue their habits. However, the number of people utilizing those facilities are noticeably decreasing, indicating that more and more people are quitting smoking.
In conclusion I would like to urge my fellow countrymen, who are habitual smokers to quit smoking and warn our youths not to indulge in smoking for fun, thinking they cannot get addicted. I should know best about this fact, as I was addicted to smoking since sixteen and was only able to quit at forty eight, after trying many times starting from twenty five. It took me twenty three years to finally succeed. It all started in my first year at the university. I thought smoking cigarette was stylish after observing the senior students smoking and that I have enough self- control to avoid getting addicted, which proved to be wrong. Smoking is not only detrimental to health, but also a very expensive habit that should be shunned. I intend to write about the reasons why you should quit smoking in my next article.
[quote font=”0″ font_style=”italic” color=”#000000″ bgcolor=”#dd8808″ bcolor=”#000000″]The author is Retired Deputy General Manager, Admin: Dept:, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications.[/quote]