Monday, January 5

Smoking - Cigarettes and Drugs

A reformed smoker.  No one likes them - especially those who cannot give it up, or don't like being "preached" to by someone who did.  I don't want to "preach" - but I do wish to express my views about what I see in our community right now.

I will tell you my story initially.  My mother and father smoked - though they were not heavy smokers.  I was in my teens and they still smoked, and then it was pretty groovy in the 50's and 60's to smoke.  Almost anyone in the movies smoked, though I can't recall the cowboys did.  All movies had characters smoking - now thrilled the tobacco people would have been.  It was free advertising for them!!

I married a smoker - and even then we were learning that it was not good for health.  Information about the dire health risks was being filtered into our learning and living.  Many people tried to give it up but couldn't.  I smoked for about 6 or 7 years.  I can't recall exactly.  I had tried to give it  up but without success.  I lasted a few days and then gave in to my cravings.  It was an odd situation that forced me to give up.  I had a weird pain in my chest - upper right lung I guessed and fear took over me.  Cancer, I deduced, though had no cough or other symptoms.  I gave up smoking out of fear and never ever had one again!!  (I was lucky - there is no indication that I do have lung cancer - and that fearful time was over 50 years ago!)

My husband continued to smoke - though I eventually banned him from smoking in the house and a few years later he too gave up.  I know that our two children smoked - though not at home, knowing how I was so against it.  I know they also smoked marijuana.  Again not at home.  I believe neither of them participate in any smoking now.

I have never used any recreational drugs - though, as a psychiatric nurse way back in the 1980's I witnessed patients who were high on some, and I knew that many in that place were marijuana smokers.

Over the years everyone has been bombarded with messages from health professionals, governments and of course we "holier than thou" successful non smokers.  It doesn't seem to change.  The governments hike the cost of cigarettes, and warning messages on packets and still people waste their money and risk their health on it.  Oddly enough it seems to be that it is the people on lower incomes that have the highest use of cigarettes!!  Young people are learning to smoke in droves as if it is a smart thing to do.  Waste of money and risk to health and a good life!!

Television has a raft of programs - RBT, Customs etc, and I am gobsmacked at the number of people caught speeding who are smoking, and appalled at the number of attempts to smuggle into various countries (I watch UK, Australian and NZ Customs shows) large amounts of cigarettes to earn "easy" money.  How many end up in prison - completely stuffing up their lives.

This story amazed me - someone I know (no names, no packdrill) works in a bank.  One of the customers when checking that his "pay" had gone into the bank (on unemployment benefits - how dare they call it PAY?  I'd accept payMENT), also wanted a print out of previous months transactions.  He was excited!!  He was arranging a loan - $200 - to  buy cigarettes.  Clearly he is not a smart man - and it is a downward spiral from then.  How could any lending institution lend some one money for fags, though I guess the guy could have lied about what he needed it for.

The drug use in Australia is out of control - as is the level of drunkenness.  So many people get busted each week - driving (sometimes unregistered or unroadworthy vehicles, sometimes with little children inside) and drinking and then facing court, confiscation of their car, high fines, or prison.  None of this makes sense.  Where is it all going?

Downward spiral.  Young people especially are flouting the law - not all of course, but what is causing this self destruction?  How can it be stopped?

What does the future hold?

Rant over for the moment.


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