Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's So Great About Smoking Anyway?

A few days ago, on my way to the US from Ghana, I spent several hours at the Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam, thanks to a 8 hour layover. The experience wasn't as unpleasant as one might imagine. It actually turned out to be quite illuminating. Those readers interested in the sounds, smells, and feel of the airport should check out this travel bloggers account.

I spent my time at Schiphol napping, skimming the Financial Times, roaming the shops, and experimenting with luxury cosmetics. Oh by the way did you know that we're not supposed to use the same cream for our faces as we use for our bodies? I certainly did not know that, so I applied some body lotion to my face and one of the attendants pointed out that I'd applied the wrong cream. So I stand there feeling a little JJC (tr: Johny come lately) and ask, really?! She was as surprised that I didn't know as I was to learn that a person really needs two creams for one body. According to her, the face creams are more gentle, more protective and prevent early wrinkling. Who knew! I mean does anyone who is not a salesperson for Lancome know this kind of stuff?

As I was saying, I window shopped a little. Mostly I was appalled at the prices of the items for sale and wondered if I'd ever move over to the dark side and begin acquiring foreign products with money I'd earned in Ghana. Time will tell, I guess. How am I to spend half of my monthly salary on say a versace bag when I could buy the lovely handwoven Ghana-made bag I've been oggling at the Accra mall for a tenth that price? Yes, I know. I just don't get it. Or I'm trying hard not to get it:)

Anyway, of the things I did and saw, only one was interesting enough to compel me to whip out my notebook (The Ecobank diary I received in their attempt to placate the irate customer). What was so interesting as to warrant note-taking? The warnings I saw on the cigarette packs:

1. Smoking kills
2. Your doctor or your pharmacist can help you stop smoking
3. Smoking seriously harms you and others around you
4. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of fatal heart and lung diseases
5. Smoking when pregnant harms your baby
6. Smoking clogs the arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes
7. Smoke contains benzene, nitrosamines, formaldehyde and nitrogen cyanide
8. Smoking causes fatal lung cancer
9. Smoking may reduce the blood flow and causes impotence
10. Smokers die younger
11. Smoking is highly addictive, don't start.
12. Smoking can cause a slow and painful death
13. Get help to stop smoking: consult your doctor or pharmacist
14. Protect children: don't make them breathe your smoke

Being a non-smoker, I'd never paid much attention to cigarette warnings so it surprised me to see that they were so bold and ominous. Further, it shocked me that smokers constantly ignore these warnings. They really must be crazy. I wonder why they do it. I can understand why a person would smoke the first time. To experiment, to see what all the hype is about, but the second time, the third, the hundredth? Why do smokers do it? How are cigarette makers still able to sell in spite of these health warnings? Some ingenious marketing tactic the rest of us aren't privy to? Really, when you're selling a cigarette, all you're really selling is pleasure...right? Would say sex-toys sell if they had similar warnings on 'em? Okay, maybe you're also selling a lifestyle with cigarettes in which case, sex-toys don't compare? Any smokers here? Please clue us in.


  1. One word (i a non-smoker)..addiction.

  2. The nicotine in there is addictive. That's why not starting is the best policy. Plus, it becomes a crutch. If you are stressed out, you want it. If you are angry, you want it. If life isn't going the way you want it to, you want it. As for the manufacturers, they pay a lot of money to their lobbyists in high places, who work on their behalf and keep them in business.

  3. Addiction sure is the word! When I was in college, I realized some people were social smokers just as some are social drinkers. People would usually gather around the smoke pit and form friendships which have lasted..or at least lasted while they were in college.

    It will surprise you to know that a lot of the anti smoking ads are sponsored by the Tobacco companies! Ironic huh? You know the Ghanaian proverb "Afutuo nsakyera nnipa, agye se nsohwe"(Advice does not change people, but trials do)

    Most of the time, the warnings are in super small prints too...who has time to squint and read before lighting up?

  4. i remember as a 'bad-boy' kid i did light up one or two or three 'left-over' cigarettes but since i've grown i have wondered what at all in all of the forces would make a man or woman smoke! ain't the writing on the wall! but well, now we have men looking up ass-holes for orgasm instead of sweet vaginas and therefore in like manner some would just smoke! i prefer to boil the leaves not burn them!!!

  5. I have a friend who started smoking a couple of years ago...apparently she thought it was 'glamorous' There's nothing less classy than standing outside in the cold, shivering away and struggling with a lighter that won't work. Now, her previously perfect teeth are beginning to discolor - don't know if she has noticed - she hasn't lost any weight (that was another excuse) and she kinda reeks a little. The perks? None! And that stuff costs an arm and a leg too!

  6. I agree totally with Nisey on the topic of smoking.

    As for face vs. body lotion, I use a different lotion. lol But that is mainly because the body lotion I use always makes my face feel too greasy, and I really hate that feeling.

  7. I know this post is about smoking but I have to comment about the lotion thing. Did you seriously not know that? I'm not judging you or anything, I'm just amazed, lol. Body lotion tends to have a lot of oils. Since the face is sensitive, it the oils clog up your pores. You shouldn't use the same towel for your face and body for the same reason. You should also use a white towel for your face because the dyes in colored ones are harsh. And this has been another lesson in skin care...:-P

  8. That whole thing about different lotions is pure marketing balderdash. There is nothing biologically different about skin on any part of the body. The only differentiated skin is the skin on the soles/palms.

    Time's the most important resource you have and no one should be wasting it trying to decide 'face/body/foot/head cream?' Geez!

    Disclaimer : I'm a guy--and I don't begrudge those who want to indulge but it should not be bandied about as fact. At the very best, the differences are marketed to have the same effect as a placebo. If you've ever heard about 'vitamin water' you've seen this principle in action for another product.

  9. Now that I think about this body lotion vs face lotion thing, i wonder...if the face lotion is so much better because it's gentler and prevents wrinkling and all that, then why don't they sell that as THE PERFECT EVERYWHERE LOTION? Why use the protective lotion only for the face instead of selling the damn thing as body lotion so we don't have to worry about which is which? Btw, Salifu's shea butter is all weather, all parts of the body, sweet smelling, ghana-made...and cheaper!

  10. Re the smoking: some people seem to really enjoy it to destress blah blah so each to thier own and most always say we're gonna die anyway so they might as well enjoy like i said each to thier own!!

    re the lotion:errrrr own forefathers been using the sameeee inku to( sheabutter) all over and skinned never so much as cracked so I will be using my cheap cocoa butter from head to toe bum crack and all LOL xxx