Want to Kill Yourself ? Text A I wonder whether smoking is as harmful as doctors make us believe it to be? Some of the things they say are really hair-raising, and even if only half of what t
hey say is true , then it is , if not suicidal, at least a self-inflicted chronic disease. This afternoon our League branch organized a discussion on the harmful effects of smoking and what effective measures should be taken to prevent young people from smoking. According to our form master , 50 % of our class smoke , or have smoked at one time or another. If that is true, then all the boys because we make up about 50 % of our class- I can hardly believe that. I, for one, certainly don't smoke, though I must admit I did once take a few puffs just out of curiositys , but you can't call that smoking. The discussion was quite a lively one. The girls , of course , all spoke in one voice against smoking , but for the most part , they had nothing original to offer besides repeating what we can read in the papers and popular science magazines. At first the boys listened in glum silence and I could see boredom and disdain on their faces. Then the cross-fire between Fatty and Liu Dandan livened the meeting up. Dandan has always been something of an actress and in her theatrical manner she went on and on describing how bad a cigarette tastes. Fatty couldn't contain himself any longer and muttered under his breath, "Heavens , you must be a very experienced smoker! " Everybody burst out laughing and Dandan spluttered with rage. The girls rallied round her and began to attack Fatty. Of course we could have none of that and the classroom was soon in uproar. "All right you boys and girls , that is quite enough. Show some sense. " Our form master's firm voice had quite a sobering effect and order was restored again. "Those who do smoke, please put up your hands. " Taken by surprise, nobody made any move. "Come on. There is nothing to fear. This is not for punishment. I only want statistics. I only want information so that we can really find out something about smoking. " We looked at each other. First Fatty, then about half a dozen boys raised their hands. Then our form master proceeded to ask each of them why they smoked and whether they liked smoking. Did they ever
try to give it up? Why not? And so on and so on. Soon he didn't have to ask any questions as we all volunteered information and the discussion became very lively and the atmosphere relaxed. Some interesting facts came out. Family and surroundings play a very important part in influencing smokers. All those who smoke come from smoking families or are surrounded by smoking friends and relatives. Films and TV plays also play a part. In the past only villains smoked and drank. Now heroes also smoke and drink, and heroes now are mostly young people with the "spirit of the 80s" fighting feudalism and conservatism. As to those who smoked and have given up , they did so because they didn't enjoy smoking and found it too expensive. Very few people think about health dangers. All those who still smoke admit that they don't derive any great pleasure out of smoking. Srncking haa not bccome a a.a:rdenecl habit with them and they could give it up easily if thcy really wanted to. They just haven't felt any urgent need to do it. A very interesting and rewarding discussion . Those smokers who haven't given much thought to their smoking will, I'm sure, give more thought to it now. Text B Few people like changing their habits , good or bad , and , whether it is smoking, drinking or over-eating, they continue `enjoying' them to the end, often the bitter end. On every packet of cigarettes and in every advertisement , Americans are warned against the dangers of smoking, "Warning ; The Surgeon Gcneral Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health". In spite of this, millions of them start smoking or go on smoking. Why ? One reason rnay be that people watch their 'heroes' on TV drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and fighting their way from adventure to adventure, `heroes' who seem to fear nothing, neither killing other people nor killing themselves with alcohol and cigarettes. If they are not afraid of the effects of smoking and drinking alcohol, why should John Smith , sitting at home in his armchair watching all this, be afraid? The simple warning on the cigarette packet does not influence his "hero's" habits either. But even stronger warnings, likc showing pictures of smokers who have lost a leg or died of canccr, seem to have no effect on people's smoking habits. Knowing and believing seem to be two different things.
The young girl smoking a cigarette in the advertisement runs the risk of dying of cancer in a few years. The smoker sitting next to you may have a heart attack next week. But don't worry ! The chance of dying in an accident is just as great. Particularly if enough people agree with one advertiser that driving a car at 212 m. p. h. and smoking interesting cigarettes is all that life is really about. Additional lnformation (A) World 'No Tohacco' Day People in all parts of the world are observing "No Tobacco Day". It is the day when the World Health Organization appeals to people to stop using tobacco products. The W-H-O hopes if people stop smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco for one day, they will stop permanently. The day includes special observances and awards ceremonies in onehundred-sixty-six countries. The target group for this year's "No Tobacco Day" is women. Organizers want to make sure women know the dangers of smoking. Health experts have warned for years that smoking can lead to heart disease, cancer and other problems. The World Health Organization says diseases linked to smoking kill at least two-million five-hundred-thousand persons each ycar. Still, many people find it difficult to stop smoking. One reason is nicotime, a substance found in cigarettes. Nicotine is a drug. 'The effects of nicotine are similar to the effects of cocaine and heroin. "No Tobacco Day" is aimed at smokers and those who earn money from tobacco sales. So businesses are asked to stop selling tobacco products for twenty-four hours. Newspapers are asked not to publish advertisements for cigarettes. Two important developments have been observed in recent years. In inciustrial count.ries, the number of smokers has been falling about one percerit a vear. But in developing countries, the number has bcen rising two percent a year. This is the result of increased efforts by tobacco companies to sell their products in developing countrics.
The World Health Organization has approved plans to help reach its goal of a 'smoke-free' world. One urges governments to offer tobacco farmers the chance to earn money by growing other crops. Another involves improved public information campaigns about the dangers of smoking. (B) MIRIAM STEVE Yeah, when, when did you start smoking? Well, I started when I was, er, about sixteen, and I really
started because I. . . well , I think my family smoked and that really made me want to, er,... really; somehow it was like growing up. MIRIAM STEVE when we left school we'd go over the park and have a s... , and have a quick cigarette. And er, I mean, I do remember when I first started that I didn't really draw cigarettes at all because I didn't really know how to do it and I didn't think it was very pleasant ; and it's only as time goes by you get more and more involved in that,erm, in that process until finally you've ... you realise that you, you can't give up. And, in fact, when I first started I used to pretend that I was so hooked that I couldn't give up, because it was like being a child-it was like being a, being a grown-up. You know, grown-ups say they can't give up smoking, they wish they couldn't smoke and I used to pretend to say that.And of course , by the time it really happens it's too late. It doesn't mean the same thing any more. You actually want to give up but you can't. MIRIAM of ... sort of socially. And it wasn't a lot of fun to start with. STEVE MIRIAM Right. It was quite embarrassing, sometimes, you know. You get srnoke in I've smoked since I was eighteen and I started , er. . as you did , sort Yeah. And, of course, my friends around me were smoking and when we,
your eyes and your eyes would water and it's a dead give-away that you've only just started. STEVE Mmm.
Er. And I didn't care for the taste all that much but everybody. . .
smoked. . . I mean I started smoking a long time ago before anything was known about cancer and, er... it was just the thing to do. And as, as you said, it was a... , it was being grown-up. It was drawing that line, you know: I am, now grown up. ANNE I should think I started at nine. .. I started. No, I really started my first year at university. Everybody else smoked. It was just the thing to do.And now not.so many people smoke, it's ... it seems to me that it was an awful waste of time and money. But my father smoked and my mother didn't so it was always a split thing in the house. I don't know, I really.. I think it probably just was a social habit more than anything else. JOHN offered cigarettes by other, er, children and in those days, I suppose smoking was the equivalent of drug taking today; er, that it was considered, erm, ... erm,... fashionable and sophisticated and adult to smoke. Like most people , I started smoking at school , foolishly. Er , I was