Pledge to smoke less — Ronnie Tan

SEPTEMBER 13 — The past few weeks, many headlines have been the debate on small cigarette packs. The debates were mainly brought up by health related associations including consumers associations who don’t represent smokers to urge Government not to allow sale of smaller packs of cigarettes. I understand where they are coming from. They are doing their part to urge people to smoke less or quit smoking for healthier lifestyle.

Frankly speaking, as a smoker, I want to smoke less and if possible quit. I know there is health risk associated with smoking. But I made the choice to smoke and this is not a habit that I am proud of. The longest period ever that I did not touch any cigarette was 2 months. It is just a very bad habit that I chose to indulge in.

It’s just like drinking coffee. The choice is whether to take instant white coffee mix or coffee without sugar. The choice of my bad habit in drinking few cups of instant white coffee per day can cause me to be diabetic in the long run and I know that. With the choice that I made, I know I need to gradually reduce the intake of instant white coffee or switch to coffee without sugar.

At the end of the day, it is about the choice that the consumer makes, with the awareness and knowledge of the risk that comes with consuming the product.

Having said that, my next step to achieving my personal health goal is to smoke less or attempt to quit and I believe many smokers are also saying the same thing. At the back of every smoker’s mind, we aim to take short term steps to smoke less and in the long run to quit altogether.

But the problem that smokers including myself have is this, the only available size of packs sold in the market, whether legal products or those cheap RM4 cigarettes, are all in 20 sticks. As a matter of fact, it is more appealing to buy those cheap brands out there but I avoid them because smoking is already bad. But smoking cigarettes with dubious content is even worse. There is no control over what goes inside those illegal products and how they were manufactured.  

So, I don’t have any option but to finish 20 sticks a day whenever I smoke in a day because I don’t wish to leave the opened pack until the next day. Majority of smokers including myself would agree that smokers don’t keep their packs for the following day because of freshness concerns. So if there are 20 sticks in a pack, smokers tend to finish 20 sticks per day. And if there are 10 sticks in a pack, smokers will smoke less in a day.

So smaller packs of cigarettes is not all bad. It is a first step for smokers to reduce the amount of cigarettes smoked per day.

To everyone out there, I make public pledge to smoke less and I can definitely smoke less with small packs.


*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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