Jalan Tun Sambanthan: Colourful and congested
Exhaust fumes are a given, especially with the heavy traffic some of the time; there's nothing much you can do about that. I mean, streets are where cars are supposed to be, after all. But you know what else causes stinkiness, air pollution, asthma attacks, and general deterioration of health? Something that we can do something about?
Tobacco. Nicotine. Tar. Carcinogens. Who says smoking isn't sexy?
(From Amez Medical Centre)
Today, I was walking around Brickfields quite a bit (to get to college, to get lunch, to go home, etc.) and kept getting stuck behind people who smoked as they walked. The walkway out of the KL Sentral bus terminal is narrow and there were people walking along it in both directions, so it was hard to overtake them. Everyone walking behind them had to trudge along breathing their secondhand smoke till they got out of the walkway.
Waiting at the bus stop was no better. So many people were smoking that you inhaled smoke no matter where you stood. It didn't matter that vehicles whooshed by, creating some wind -- cigarette smoke was everywhere. Predictably, the breathing difficulties kicked in soon enough. Thank goodness the bus didn't take long to get there.
(From Brands of the World)
Smokers, I've got a bone to pick with you.
We all know the health risks of smoking. In case you don't, smoking causes or contributes to, among other things, the following (click on the links for pretty pictures):
- Lung cancer
- Emphysema (a disease that destroys your lung tissues -- what fun!)
- Cardiovascular diseases (eg. strokes and angina)
- High blood pressure
- Stained nails
- Stained teeth
- Bad breath, no matter how many breath mints you pop
- Stomach ulcers
- Mouth cancer
So if we already know all this, why do so many people still smoke? In addition to exposing themselves to the health risks above, they contribute to air pollution with their secondhand smoke, which includes both the smoke from their lit cigarettes and that which they exhale. Something I find grossly unfair is that secondhand smoke contains twice as much tar and nicotine than the smoke inhaled from a cigarette, and three times as much of a carcinogen called benzpyrene. Keep your cancer (and other various diseases) to yourselves!
"Get off my lawn! And take you cigarettes with you!"
(From Clippix ETC)
On the other hand, I did some research earlier and found out that there are actually benefits of smoking; they are few and far between, but they exist. Here are my findings:
- Smokers are reportedly at a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease
- Something in cigarette smoke apparently increases efficiency of clopidogrel, a clot-busting drug used on patients with coronary diseases (which is nice of it -- since it caused the disease, it might as well help the drug that counters it to work better, right?)
- Nicotine is said to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia and side-effects of antipsychotic medication
- Nicotine suppresses the appetite and therefore reduces the risk of obesity
Obviously, these don't compare to the numerous risks associated with smoking. Obviously, smoking is a bad thing. Obviously, smoking isn't doing anyone but tobacco companies any good.
So why are people still doing it?!
"Why? Why? WHYYYY, BABYYYY?!"
Okay, look. Smokers. If y'all want to spend your money on cigarettes, well, it's your money. I think it's a bit selfish of y'all, but it's your money and you can spend it however you want. However, I have a request. Could you possibly refrain from smoking while walking, especially in small, cramped spaces? You trail secondhand smoke, which really isn't fun to deal with for the people walking behind you. This bit of consideration would be nice, seeing as how there are people like myself out there who have problems dealing with smoke.
Also, I have no right to question your life choices, but I'd just like to say that dying from lung cancer really isn't fun. Like, really. I mean, dying from anything wouldn't be fun, but if there are measures you can take against lung cancer, well, why not? The 'it's not gonna happen to me' mentality isn't a good nor safe one to have. Just saying.
So ends my public service announcement of sorts. In a nutshell: Smoking is not cool. Don't do it. And if you insist on smoking, don't blow your smoke in other people's faces.
P.S. Here are my sources. Doing research for this post took incredibly long; the last thing I want to do here is spread misinformation. Have a look at these!
Secondhand smoke: University of Minnesota's Division of Periodontology.