“Smoking is injurious to health” is maybe the most worthless warning quote ever to have existed. I do not think any smoker even remembers this quote to be written on the pack while puffing out their soul with the wind unless they are reminded about its existence. I can attest to that as a fact, as most of the time, I am too unable to recall the caution it speaks about. That in itself says how I too am a chain smoker. This particular path of self-destruction that I have chosen, does not have anything good left at the end of it. It is a dead end that ends with me being dead. Not the good kind of death. Not the one where you get to die of old age in your sleep while being surrounded by the people you love. That transition to the afterlife may as well be like a dream, almost painless. But this path ends with utter sorrow and misery. It ends alone, in a deprived solitude.
As, both the tangible and intangible losses that occur from smoking may not be visible at first, but it adds up to be substantial as, it behaves like an investment gone awry and is compounding by itself. We can calculate the tangible aspect of smoking into giving us a conclusive number. I have been smoking for about 8 years now, so it can be safe to say that the amount I have spent after smoking over the years would be a good example of expenditure by every chain smoker in this country on average.
In the duration, prices of a single cigarette went up four times in our national budget. My choice of poison falls in the middle category of smokes which has three scales. As my brand went up in price from let's say 8 cents to 12 cents a smoke, we can average it to be at 10 cents. Also as the frequency of my smoking went up over the years, it would be safe to assume, that I have spent about 11 cents per cigarette. Now if I had to say how many smokes I have burned through on a daily basis, it would be a bit tricky. In the last two years, I have smoked at least one twenty-stick pack a day if not more. Before that, it was half of that, and before that, it was even less. But to be on the safe side of underestimating the expense, let's assume I have burned through at least 15 a day. That would be 1.65 USD a day. 602 USD a year and about 5000 USD in the total duration.
That is how much money I have absolutely wasted and can be labeled as a tangible loss. The chances of developing High BP permanently for me is almost twice that of an average person. The cost of that too can be put into the calculation. A basic blood thinner may cost about 20 cents and I would need to resort to those pills for the rest of my life. From this very second onwards, if I live for let's say the average lifespan of a human being which for me would be about 37 years left, it would be around 3000 USD after pills. And if I manage to develop heart issues, the expense for that would be 40 USD a month without the costs of hospital visits. And after developing it, if I get to live for let's say even 10 years, that would be 5000 dollars at the very bottom low. And as the development of blocks in the arteries has a very high probability, surgeries would too cost somewhere around 5000 USD on average. A similar cost would fall on me if I develop lung issues.
And if I manage to develop any form of cancer, the treatment for this would land somewhere between 10k to 50k depending on the type of cancer and the recommended treatment. All of this adds up to over 20k USD of the assured cost that I am looking at and then added the cost of cancer. And if I keep fueling this foul habit for the rest of my life at the current rate, that would cost me another 20k at the very least.
The intangible losses are even more serious as they can't be seen or calculated. The degradation of the quality of life as a matter of fact is one. Then there is piss and poop that smells like I may have eaten a rotten raccoon, run over by a truck, and left under the sun for a week. The stinky had that I smoke with, the stained yellow teeth, bad breath, smelly sweat, added cost of fragrance to cover the bad smell, bowel issues such as constipation and loss of appetite, and finally, not being able to integrate myself among the good people of the society who does stuff that matters. And finally, polluting the environment as the land where tobacco grows slowly becomes infertile, and the CO2 just pollutes the air more and more. What a sacrifice eh? Just for some tobacco.
Why people even smoke is a thought to ponder upon deeply. I have found it to be a lack of self-control. Some of them see it as a rebellious act, some start smoking to appear cool and edgy, and some just think it would help to cope with stress. But, in reality, it is nothing but a weak psyche and the lack of self-control that initiates it. And people can not quit smoking for the very same reason. in comparison, I have such low self-control that, at times, when I am unable to find any smoke nearby, and the urge creeps in, I would pick up a crumbled one from the ashtray, which at that point already reeks like wet and rotten wood.
Us smokers are funny in a way. We do not need any reason to smoke. If we are under stress, we pop one out and light it up, if we are happy, we would smoke one after the other. If we are heartbroken we would light up one pack after the other. Everything seems boring? No matter, take one out and light it up. In the middle of a very deep and meaningful conversation? Light, one, up.
That is how it is really, and how it has always been. All we ever need is the next excuse to drive ourselves towards a bleak and pathetic end. We are doing nothing but committing suicide. But instead of it being instantaneous, it is done so over a long period of time.
One could ask, why am I still smoking if I hate it so much? Because of the dependency, I have developed. In the end, it must be remembered that tobacco is nothing but a drug. It is like a mindless parasite, the hunger and the allure of which is more formidable to escape than meth and cocaine addiction.
But, no more, I am quitting it from this very instance for the rest of my life. And this, I have written as a letter to myself, to look back and see if life has turned for the better or worse. As a testimony that will be eternal, carved in the blocks, time-stamped, and left there to exist for eternity. To remind me of the promise that I made myself to lead a better life from this point onwards. Also in hopes that the fellow smokers who I know might pick up on it and choose to quit. If that happens, I would be a very happy man.
Art generated with Midjourney AI