Burning Nicotine: The harms of smoking


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Artwork by: Sanobar Chagani[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” custom_height=”20″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Ashes.

Ashes that gently fall in a small compact circle.

The tobacco burns into an umber glow, held together by only a small caramel and white paper.

The cigarette enters a mouth of mustard yellow teeth. She has frizzy hair and is wearing a fast food employee uniform.

Her skin is older than her age, covered by wrinkles and sun spots.

She opens her mouth as if she is about to whistle or sing, but instead a cloud of smoke is released, sending me into a fit of coughs followed by a burning sensation in my lungs.

My eyes lock hers. They are a bright blue, like a dizzying deep ocean. They might be her best feature, if they weren’t bloodshot.

The woman is Tanya. To me she didn’t have a last name because she was just another employee at my uncle’s restaurant.

Smoking was Tanya’s hobby, and it bothered me. Not because I was raised in a socially conservative home, or because teachers constantly told me it was wrong.

My frustration with smoking stemmed from the idea that it hurts people.

The out-of-breath feeling and the smoke-infested air doesn’t only affect smokers. It affects even the most distant bystanders, like me at five years old, gasping for breath. The second hand smoke deprived me of choice as I was forced to inhale.

Every time I see a stranger standing with a match and a cigarette I remember Tanya’s figure surrounded by smoke. I think of the way she threw the cigarette and it rolled off of the curb, as if it were a piece of gum easily discarded on the side of a street.

Their deep hoarse voices, the nicotine-scented perfume that smokers seem to always wear, and their disregard for the health of others are what make me steer clear of smoking.

480,000. That’s the number of people who die each year from smoking related deaths. More than 40,000 of those people have never smoked in their life. They have simply breathed. A right which should be free in society, but won’t be until smoking is burned from civilization.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]