In the Maldives smoking has been normalized for centuries. The dangers of smoking are more or less given minimum interest from most Maldivians. This is apparent from your dad smoking in the balcony to the neighbor downstairs having a “morning starter” cigarette to all your colleagues taking a smoke break as if it’s a necessity for sustenance.
The reason why tobacco addiction in the Maldives has boomed is mainly due to the easy access, low price and most importantly low awareness.
Smoking was named pandoras box by German Cardiologist Frank Riverton. “Smoking is a perfect example of a pandoras box, there are so many diseases that smoking causes from cardiovascular diseases to Hair loss and even incompetency in sexual intercourse".
The following is an interview of an individual with a nicotine addiction enlightening a story unfortunately most of us can relate to.
When and how did you first start smoking?
My first experience smoking was when I was either 13 or 14. I was always fascinated by how my dad who has been a smoker all his life looked as if cigarettes calmed him down. I was a curious kid really. I studied in a public school when public schools were a lot like jails. You were either prey or predator. To be above the food chain you had to exert power or do things others would normally not do. I was naive to choose smoking as a way to show “toughness”. I remember it was me and two of my friends who sneaked out a cigarette from my dad’s pack that day. If I’ve ever regretted a day it would be that.
How has it affected you, health wise?
Its been over 6 years since I smoked my first cigarette. At first there was nothing really. I didn’t feel the difference. Which was a huge factor in why stopping never crossed my mind. Because in my head I could stop any day. As I progressed from a cigarette a week to a pack a day, I slowly started feeling tired all the time and coughing fits became common. My mental state and mood started depending on whether I have enough nicotine in my blood. I can feel myself becoming weaker day by day really. It’s like they say. Every puff cuts a minute from your life.
Do you want to stop? And have you tried to stop?
I can’t remember how many times I’ve woken up and told myself “today is the last day”. Once I stayed away for a whole month. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was quite the feat for me. But I had a bad accident and things fell apart. My dependency took the best of me and I got back on smoking. If I could stop, I would. But to say I couldn’t would just be a lie. I’m trying to get medical help for the situation right now. Hoping for the best really.
What would you say to someone who might be at the beginning of this vicious cycle?
STOP. You will regret it. There will not come a time in your life ever that smoking will be worth it. Stop while you can. Our side of the bridge isn’t tough or “beydu”. It’s costly.
Why are people getting clinically depressed?