By Abdellatif Sharaa

If a mad man is given an ember, he will not pick it up! If he was asked to touch it, he will not! So what about him picking it with his hand and placing it in his mouth, then dropping it in his gut?! A mad man will not do that, so what about a sane person? Smokers do! Smoking is a repugnant habit that we hope our brothers and sisters can fight against and become free from this enslaving master.

I feel hurt and feel bad for days, and actually cannot forget the scene when I notice a boy or a girl who is barely 15 picking up a cancer stick and lighting it like a pro. It hurts because this kid may get stuck with it for years and years, and the worst of it, being underage, someone may have bought for them, but that is another story for another time.

Smokers are reminded of the health hazards smoking may bring to them and they are reminded of this by the manufacturers themselves, who place notes and scary pictures on the pack of cigarettes! The cost burden on the smoker is not light. An example: The National Cancer Institute said the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $6.28, which means a pack a day habit sets you back $188 per month or $2,292 per year. Of course prices vary from one country to another, but the cost is significant both on the pocket and well-being!

The tobacco industry is now openly admitting that their products are a health hazard and claim they are phasing out the traditional “cancer stick”, but of course, they are not stopping there. They are researching and already manufacturing the so called e-cigarette, devices that deliver nicotine into the body. Yes, even employing technology does not make the devices risk-free!

A recent event held in the US touched on the likelihood that vaping increases smoking cessation and the principal concerns about youth vaping, among other topics. I felt that some of the speakers had worries that vaping may cause nicotine addiction in some youth – vaping by youth who have never smoked can cause some to try smoking.

The e-cigarette carries in it various chemicals including propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, in addition to flavorings and chemicals. I personally believe the e-cig is not the alternative, and more so because it attracts younger generations. And although many experts say nicotine, though addictive, does not have significant adverse health risks, there are concerns that it interferes with prefrontal cortex maturation.

Health concerns with long term e-cig use may include addiction, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, oral disease, developmental and reproductive effects and of course cancer. In conclusion, regardless of the vehicle that delivers substances and products of tobacco into the body, it is still harmful and bad for one’s health, and the sane ideal act is to quit smoking cigarettes of all types and shut the stick production lines down!