Smoking - A fashionable or filthy habit

smokingLong before the Europeans arrived in America, chewing of tobacco was well known by the indigenous people. Once the leaves supplied the desired effect these were spat out onto the ground in the country side, but in public buildings into receptacles called spittoons.

Then in the 1800's An American gentleman invented a cigarette rolling machine. Now cigarettes became a commercial commodity and smoking took off like wild-fire.


Through the years smoking, although a controversial habit, became immensely popular and it is frightening to think that smoking was allowed everywhere! In offices, the cinemas, restaurants and any place where people gathered socially. Although having a "foul, smelly, cancer stick" in one's mouth, people continued to light up!

Until the industry was regulated, advertising agents had "carte blanche" and as a result advertisements for cigarettes were seen everywhere; on billboards, in magazines, on the television and the big screen.

A slogan that prevailed at the time namely "after action satisfaction" portrayed beautiful people, with gorgeous bodies lighting up on the ski slopes or "après ski" on exotic island beaches. This format led ordinary folks to believe that smoking ensured a better life and that they actually deserved to smoke!!

So, why we may ask, is this such an addictive habit when it can cause cancer and a host of other health problems?
Firstly, tobacco is a carcinogen, that is cancer forming and NICOTINE is a drug that stimulates the brain. The craving for yet another cigarette is due to the levels falling in the blood. Withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, mood change and the onset of headaches are typical.

TAR contains many chemicals which can be deposited into the lungs, then to the capillaries and other parts of the body.
CARBON MONOXIDE affects the oxygen levels in the blood leading to breathlessness.

A lesser known fact is the effect on the blood circulation due to constricted vessels particularly of those in the legs. In some cases hardening of the arteries occurs.

And if that is already not scary enough the continual use of the muscles around the mouth to draw in and expel smoke, leads to crinkling around the mouth with aging effects!

Yet another downside of smoking is bad breath, unpleasant odour in the hair and on clothes and the sensory receptors of taste and smell are compromised.

Furthermore cigarettes are expensive as are life insurance policies.

Even when seeking work, employers will be influenced as smokers are more likely to have more sick leave than others & take more breaks.

The media have played a huge role in influencing youth culture, the habit being perceived as cool and fashionable. As the older generation have taken heed of the dangers, youth appears to be all about having fun and this over-rides the fear of death.
In conclusion we all have a choice. Visiting health and wellness centres well supported by MATSIMELA will assist those willing to make the right choice.