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A Poet and Cigarettes

In this blogpost, the writer discusses how he was addicted to smoking, how he tried to quit etc. Many young Tibetan men have a habit of smoking because it had become fashionable to do so. The writer describes how this may finally be changing, with people becoming more conscious of their health and the environment. The writer makes a reference to the famed scholar Gendun Choephel’s public promise to stop drinking.

May 2, 2011,
By Gcan-me-stag

The number of cigarettes I smoke is increasing. Before inhaling the clean air in the morning, there is a cigarette at one side of my mouth. At lunchtime, before I finish eating, there is one cigarette on my tongue. One day a colleague said, “How many cigarettes do you smoke in a day?” I replied, “About one pack.” Honestly speaking, I don’t know how many cigarettes I smoke in one day. There are several packs of cigarettes in the drawer in my office. There are several packs of cigarettes on the desk in my home. Then, there is also one pack of cigarettes in my pocket. Wherever I go, I go with the blue-flying smoke. Wherever I sit, I am with the smoky fog. In the past, there was not much attention given to smoking, but nowadays there are more and more posters that call for protecting the environment, so it is hard to find a good place to smoke; no smoking in the conference rooms, no smoking in the taxis and buses, and it is not comfortable to smoke at a solemn banquet.

And it is a bit embarrassing to smoke one cigarette after another when there are many guests at home. Sometimes I quickly light a cigarette at a spot where there is no “No smoking” sign, but when I see someone coming, I quickly extinguish the light and hide it. This kind of secret action makes me feel like a thief. This nasty habit, scorned and protested by many well-behaved citizens, throws me into a dehumanized state, so in the past, I have stories of quitting smoking by biting my own lips. The one time I quit, I didn’t last longer than five months. They were conditional quits, and I had to smoke again. That was the first time, but also the last time. I think if you don’t have any other hobbies besides smoking, then smoke, why not? If your lung becomes dark colored and your stomach becomes blue colored, it is no one else’s business. One physical body is one’s own. There is no connection with others if you live or die.

Generally speaking, I am a gallant and honest person, but sometimes because of my smoking, I get into situations that make me look like a hooligan. One day, I wrote some large letters saying “Please, don’t smoke here” on a piece of paper in Tibetan and put it on the office wall. The people in the office looked at my face as if they were seeing a funny creature. The reason was there were only four people in the office and I was the only smoker. Actually, I wrote those words to myself. I wanted to test myself to see how long I could resist smoking. However, I knew a broken piece of paper would not have much impact, so in less than one day, I smoked again like before and my colleagues jokingly said to me, “Did you break your vow again?” In my heart I knew that they (colleagues) didn’t want to inhale the terrible smoke and smell my nasty breath and the bloody coughing smell. I am sure that everyone wanted to take the cigarette from my mouth and break it into pieces. And if they were not satisfied, they may even want to slap me on my face.

What is the benefit of smoking? It is not something I have thought of. If I put all the reasons together; smoking makes you feel relieved when tired, smoking makes you wake up when sleepy, smoking can reduce weight when you are gaining weight, smoking can be comforting when sad, smoking makes you less nervous when delivering a speech in public. If you think carefully and see whether smoking has all these benefits, the answer is no. Smoking is nothing more than a habit. The benefits discussed above are only nonsense that ruin oneself, so you shouldn’t believe them. Honestly speaking, I also never believed in this nonsense.

Due to these factors, nowadays, I sincerely want to mobilize a Quitting Smoking campaign. Like Gendun Choephel quitting drinking in the middle of the public, I am thinking about holding a Quitting Smoking action in the middle of the public. Or I wish I would get a disease that doesn’t allow me to smoke. What can I do until a real result comes up? During childhood, when a child hiccups, the parents suddenly scare the child to stop the hiccups. Or if a doctor comes up with a theory saying, “If you smoke one more cigarette, you will die.” Can I quit smoking immediately then? Cigarettes! Do you see how it is now impossible to keep our relationship?

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