What are the advantages of smoking, in your opinion?

1,447 Views Updated: 01 May 2018
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What are the advantages of smoking, in your opinion?

Anyone currently residing in India and with access to cable television cannot help but notice regular advertisements by the government warning the public of the dangers of smoking. In addition to these advertisements, a ticker appears on the screen discouraging smoking - whenever an actor/actress in a serial or movie lights a cigarette on tv. Smoking, it seems, is public enemy number one for the government; the evil habit that has to be avoided at all costs. As prior scientific data has shown definite links between smoking and ill health for humans,  the government is no doubt convinced about the ethics and morality of its campaign that portray smoking as an affliction to be avoided at all costs.

Given the overwhelming campaign by the government against smoking, it may seem a lost cause, at the outset, to speak about the advantages of smoking. Nevertheless, that is precisely what this article aims to do. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that is only interested in deriding this social and personal habit, there is much more to the story, else why will smoking remain so popular and enduring for millions of adults across the world, despite its proven negative side effects.

A philosopher is having a conversation with a self-proclaimed ascetic. 'So what is your aim in life,' asks the philosopher, 'To lead a long life,' replies the ascetic. 'Life with wine, women and wealth,' enquires the philosopher? 'Oh, I avoid those,' says the ascetic. 'Then why do you want to lead a long life,' exclaims the puzzled philosopher! While we may take it for granted that all humans fear and loathe impending death or any other cause that may curtail our life on a whim or an instant, most humans lead the everyday life in a comfort zone, far removed from thoughts of doom or ill health, and hoping to enjoy life as it comes.

Smoking certainly does not cause instant death. Also, the probability of dying through smoking is far less than the probability of dying through an accident, or sometimes even a natural cause like aging. The argument against smoking is completely based on its effects on health, but if some  'hyper-normal' standard of health was the norm for a living, then almost all human habits and pleasures will become unacceptable or to be avoided. Eating is enjoyed by humans, but excessive eating can cause obesity and many other diseases in the long term. The same is true for almost any other human indulgence, including work, play, or even sleeping! Any human habit in excess can cause ill health, but in moderation, it may not have much impact on health at all.

So, if we consider smoking as a controlled habit and not as an addiction, we can then speak about its positive effects. The average smoker is not a chain smoker or a compulsive addict who smokes ten packs of cigarettes a week., although a few do suffer from addiction, then people are addicted to tv, money, work, family, and many other things in life as well.

The obvious positive about smoking is that it is a highly personal experience, a 'feeling'  that can be easily acquired and in most instances quite affordable as well. (Cigarette prices vary across countries, a brand cheap in India may be quite expensive in a country like the UK). But, overall, smoking can be considered as a cheap habit, it does not burn a hole in your pocket. The rewards of smoking are instantaneous. For many a smoker, a timely smoke is the best way to relieve stress and achieve calmness. Very few activities can compare with smoking - as a ready-made tonic for relaxation of a tense mind. Smoking is usually done when people want to take a break from their routine (work in most cases), and spend some time alone, a time that can be spent in internal reflection as well.

In the modern world, work life can be highly taxing. Without an activity like smoking that provides a much needed time out for the human brain, many will find it difficult to cope with undue pressure and stress. The activity of smoking can release sensations within us that reorders our mental equilibrium and physical balance. Smoking provides the necessary time gap for our brain to reorient, and for our mental selves to regain composure in complex or difficult situations.

Smoking is cheap. Both rich and the poor can afford smoke and a pack of cigarettes. A good smoke can even be a lifesaver if it aids calmness of thought. Smoking as a habit, if it does not endanger children, can be indulged in by adults, who appreciates this activity in a mature way for personal fulfillment.

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