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When I was 12, I tried a cigarette for the first time in my life with a girl named Cindy. We stole one from her parents, and smoked it in an alley way, although I’m pretty sure Cindy did most of the smoking. The next year, Renee and I thought we were cool, so we smoked a lot – I was 13. For grades 9 and 10, I didn’t really touch them (I don’t think – Metroid, correct me if I’m wrong here) but in grade 11 I started smoking a lot.
…Well, not a lot. It was more of a social thing. If I was at school, and was offered one, I’d say yes. It wasn’t until the middle of grade 11 that I actually started buying packs of them, (the Hastey Market down the road from school didn’t card, Rachael and I were in heaven).
I sort of quit that summer, but my favorite ex and I would sometimes sneak off into the woods on staff free time, or a group of us would go half way down Kenesserie Road, when we had our breaks – as long as we were out of site of the kids, it was okay.
When I went to live with Weiner, I picked it up again, and picked it up more heavily than ever before. I would buy at least a pack a week, if not 2 or 3. At a party, I would smoke nearly an entire pack. Weiner and I got into the routine of having one at lunch, with coffee, and after school on the front step watching people drive by. Then again after supper, and usually one around 11 pm when everyone was in bed, down in my room.
Last year in eco – no one would buy me smokes, and every where in Guelph cards...but whatever, it was better for me. The only time I smoked was when 'Duh was down visiting Lassie and when Irish Boy#2 came down from Ireland. (Him and I quickly became smoking buddies, and nerdy show buddies. Love that guy.)
That brings us to now. I have the opportunity to smoke now; it’s very easy to buy them in London. However my lesser favorite twin was down a few days ago, and he gave me one, afterwards I felt like I was going to hurl all over the side walk, and all over him.
Not only did it occur to me that the taste is horrible, but that *me personally* am spewing chemicals into the precious air that advocate for so intensely. I had obviously noticed these things before, but it wasn't until that moment, that the actual stupidity dawned on me. It was then, that I decided to quit for good.
I know a lot of people that smoke pot, and indulge in other more harmful drugs, but there is not a single drug that I know that is used more recreationally in the entire world. It’s undeniable that the tobacco industry is huge, unnecessarily huge – people know there are serious health risks, and that it’s an environmental issue. But, people just accept that it is a highly addictive and highly dangerous drug.
The government obviously knows it too, or they wouldn’t keep upping the taxes on tobacco to discourage people from buying it. But it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Walking around London today, I saw kids that looked as if they were 12 years old smoking, openly on the street. In the US, research by the American Cancer Society shows that there are more deaths annually that are directly linked to tobacco, than AIDS, alcohol, drugs, car accidents, murders, suicides and fires…*combined*. Estimates show that up to 10 million people die a year by 2020, 7 million more than what die annually now.
Now, I am all for people dying – population control and all – (I’m kidding…sort of) but I really believe that it is the governments responsibility to be protecting these people from something that is so obviously preventable.
Now, I’m not suggesting that it become illegal, because really – I think all drugs should be legal to adults, as long as rehabilitation is available. But, I am against the tobacco companies, and that it has become socially acceptable to see a 12 year old kid walking around the street smoking. …If I wasn’t surrounded by scary people I’d have taken it out of his mouth and thrown it on the ground…but, trust me…downtown London, is *very scary*. If a car doesn’t pass a safety test, it’s not going to be sold, just like this tobacco shouldn’t be sold in stores the way it is. Especially since people under the legal age of purchase can easily get their hands on it because it is sold like that. Kids start thinking it’s the cool thing to do, or through peer pressure and end up addicted for the rest of their lives. It is the responsibility of the community and the government to attempt prevention of this. The one thing that my last boyfriend always complained about was the second hand smoke, if I were to smoke around him, I would be killing him as well. Plus, its not like it smells good, or does wonders for the breath, mouth or teeth either. But like I said, I don’t want to ban it totally, that would just create more problems, like during the prohibition of alcohol. Canadian consumption of alcohol increased by 500% in that time, so it doesn’t really work. But, I would say all advertisements should be banned, and that tobacco should be taken out of stores. I think a lot less kids would do it, it doesn’t give any sort of high, and doesn’t do anything positive, that say…pot, can’t do.--kian