World Tobacco Day
“How many pack of cigarette do you have each day?”
“Not that much, maybe three packs”
Three packs??? This shocked me! This conversation happened around a week ago, when I observed that the driver of public transportation couldn’t stop coughing, a very bad coughing.
“How many days you have had that cough?”
“I forget! Doctor said that I have a-hundred-days-cough”
I feel like a journalist :p
He was giggling while saying a-hundred-days-cough. Both of us were laughing, though honestly, I was sad. Seeing him is like seeing (the late of) my beloved father. My father is a tough smoker. If he, eventually quited smoking, it was not because of miracle. Due to his age, he was also suffering for asthma. It was about in 2014, our family faced a very hard situation when he should totally stop his habit to smoke. He couldn’t do fasting (when the Holy month came) and even when the Ied al Fitr in 2015, he only stayed in his bed. Doctor urged him to stop smoking and consuming coffee. A year later, after he was tptally stop smoking and drinking coffee, his condition is much, much better.
Talking about tobacco is like talking about something bias. Though, our government has applied some rules due to this problem, in fact, tobacco industry is (still) taking a big role for some essential events in our country. Ironically, this industry supports music, sport or even education field!
May 31st is observed as World Tobacco Day. There are two big problems that Indonesia has due to this issue, the tobacco industry itself and the Secondhand Smoke (SHS). Sadly, these issues involve children as a “victim”.
A friend of mine who once taught in Maluku told me that in particular time, some children were absent from school (though they had school examination). When they came back a week later, they told the teacher that they have to help their parents harvesting cloves. Traditional farming moslty runs by a family, as it happens to tobacco farming. They involve family members include children. They help their parents before and after going to school.
Kartono Muhamad, a former chairman of the Indonesian Doctors Associaton (IDI) said children who involve directly with tobacco will easily absorb the toxin (especially if they don’t wear gloves), include nicotine. It is because the outer layer of children’s skin is still thin. Furthermore, nicotine intoxication will cause thinning of celebral cortex. The celebral cortex is very crucial since it is where important thought process such as memory, language and perception occur.
Another issue which should get attention is the Secondhand Smoke (SHS). Though acting ban in public area has been issued, yet we (still) find many places are uncovered by such bans, such as traditional market, bus stop, a restaurant and many more. Preventing children to be Secondhand Smoke is hard since sometimes they are breathing in the air full of cigarette (eventhough they are at home, where it should be the safest and the healthiest place). Parents attitudes play important role here. They shouldn’t smoke (or it is better for them to quit smoking) in the presence of children.
Parents attitude to smoke at home, ironically, followed by teenagers who start smoking in the very young age. We can see easily young children smoke although they are still wearing primary or junior high school uniform. It shows us how younger they are to start the bad, unhealthy habit. Again, family hold a significant role to keep their sons not to smoke whereever they are since it is not only bad for themselves but also for others.
Though government has put the scary warning through the cigarette pack, yet many of youths continue to smoke. However, we hope the government puts serious attention regarding to tobacco issue. At least, I feel glad that I cannot find smoke ash around commuter line areas.
Cigarette issue is like a coin with two sides. In terms of advertisement, cigarette contributes a lot to the tax and showbiz life. Almost in all cigarrette ads, smoking men are depicted as a brave, strong, adventurous and risk taker.person. It derives people not to stop smoking. In addition, cigarettes companies sponsored many different kinds of youth activities, from music concert up to giving scholarship either in sport or academic fields.
In terms of absorbing employees, cigarettes industry open a wide range of job vacancies, starting from the very beginning of the process in remote areas to the marketing of the cigarettes themselves. We cannot deny the reality that cigarettes indutry have helped government solving the job recruitment issue.
Although stopping cigarette advertisemant and sponsorship looks like impossible and job recruitment issue is crucial, yet who will protect the future of our young generation if we still absorb the cigarettes ash freely?
Karya : Irma Rahmatiana