AN EMPLOYEE once asked my advice on how to stop his smoking habits. I told him that I don’t like giving advices, especially when it comes to this thing since I don’t smoke and I might not be a good counselor. But I gave him a tit for thought just for him to ponder if he cares though.

Nobody can stop your habit except you even if you hear me out and attend seminars on the effects of smoking. If you really wanted to stop smoking, we made some calculations and, assuming my math is correct, we came up with these figures:

Age when started smoking - 14

Present age - 32

Years spanned - 18 (equivalent to 216 months)

Price per cigarette stick - 1.00

Average sticks consumed per day - 10

Ave. expenses for 1 month - P300.00

Total expenses from the start of habit until the present * P64, 800.00 (216 x 300)

These figures are more or less what you spend, since the price of a cigarette stick stated above is just a median cost as the price is changing from time to time. If you want to add more to the total expenses at this time, you go ahead, I joked at him. He still smokes now though, but lesser as like 4 to 5 cigarettes per day, as he swears so.

This is one vice that I abhor most, yet I just have to tolerate my coworkers* smoking habits provided that they do it in the proper place and at a proper time. Dili ko magpugong ninyo kung gusto ninyo magsunog sa inyohang kwarta sa pagsigarilyo, I ribbed them off sometimes.

This is one national past time that seems difficult to eradicate. We may have ordinances governing no smoking policies, but it seems that smokers have the propensity to violate this simple law. It should be a reminder for them that not all people tolerate smoking, even more on a second hand smoke. It is short of saying, “We don’t want to get sick, like you smokers.”

I am not telling all those who smoke to stop this habit as it is a choice that they make. I just want to urge them to be sensitive to other people and to obey the no smoking ordinances. Besides, if they want to make polka dots on their lungs, I hope they do it artistically. I have seen in autopsy procedures what a smoker*s lung looks like and it is not a pretty sight seeing tar-like substances in the bronchioles and alveoli.

Surely the nicotine content constitutes the addictive property of a cigarette, which is why it is a hard habit to kick out. If you smokers want to contribute to the economy by the pack of cigarettes that you buy, nobody is stopping you from doing so and we may be grateful for it. But you need to be sensitive enough for others who don*t like even a wisp of its odor.

The DOH campaign by placing tarpaulin posters in hospitals that depicts the effects of smoking seem to fail to curb the habit of most Filipinos, and in fact there are many of the younger generation now that are starting to practice this habit. I say let them continue to do it, but warn them of its effects both physically and financially. Let them think of the ways that the money used for a single stick ought to be saved for a more meaningful activity. If I may suggest to the DOH, have a full 30 second advertisement of the effects on smoking be aired in homes and theaters if they are truly heartfelt in this endeavor.

Together, let’s save lungs and lives.