Smoking Kills. Every time you buy a pack of cigarettes in Sweden you are reminded of this pretty obvious fact. The warning takes up nearly half of the packaging. It’s incredible. And hilarious. And scary. But most of all, it doesn’t seem to have any effect what-so-ever. I’m not what you would describe as a smoker; in fact, it grosses me out quite a bit what with the stink and the yellow teeth and nasty finger tips and all. But hey, whatever floats your boat. I’m in the minority here though.
It seems everyone smokes in this country. Or at least in Stockholm. Young parents. Old ladies. Middle-aged men. Young girls. The 12 year old gang of boys running around outside the apartment. In their defense they have gotten real good at blowing smoke circles. But it’s hard not to walk through town without taking a face-full of the blue stuff. And, because I hold my breath like a four year old little kid exposed to it every time I walk by a smoker in the process of, it gets exhausting.
But here’s what I don’t understand. In a country that prides itself on a healthy lifestyle, on taking care of your body and the environment, how they smoke with such abandon remains a mystery. Tobacco is not an easy crop on the soil. That’s not good for the environment. Just ask Al. Tobacco, nicotine, smoke, tar are not easy on your body. That’s not good for you. But here they are walking around Stockholm sucking on cigarettes.
What’s even more interesting is the indoor smoking ban. Clearly, an effort is being made. No smoking inside. Huge warning labels on the packaging. Commercials. Literature. Campaigns. But it doesn’t seem to be making a dent. Cigarettes (the Brits call them fags. Silly Brits.) are addicting.
I should know. I am a former consumer of cigarettes. I used to go through a couple of packs a week. Nothing serious. But, then there was an incident. I lit up and it happened. My cigarette melted all over me. Yup. Chocolate. I was 10. They were delicious. But clearly not good for my wellbeing. I was a mess. But I quit cold-turkey. Haven’t had a chocolate cigarette in 13 years and 147 days.
Not a day goes by that I don’t give myself a quick pat on the back. I’m a better person for quitting. And you can quit too. Because I’m tired of having to hold my breath every time I walk by your stinky ass.