37 percent of the world's tobacco leaves are burned in China, establishing us as the leading nation in the league of tobacco consumption. You can say I'm damn proud of that, but I'm not too sure about the way the kid in the video is being brought up...
Really, whenever i'm in China, where u can smoke pretty much anywhere, I sometimes feel free (no irony intended). After two years of conditioning (smoking ban came into effect in HK in 2007), I've found myself feeling guilty whenever i light a cigarette in a restaurant. What's worse, I've come to accept the fact that my smoking behavior is an act of selfishness and unpleasantness for others in proximity. It is true and i respect that.
It is always interesting to look back at the history of tobacco. Cigarette smoking was once the coolest thing considered. It was one of the many expression of modernity in itself. One needs no further evidence than the amount of chain-smoking captured on screen in French and American films throughout the 20th century, one of the most sucessful marketing campaign based on ignorance and everyone's need for character.
I won't deny it, I was one of those who started smoking because they thought it was a cool thing to do, like those in the movies. I was seven and I had the right to be stupid. But seeing how the status of smokers have degraded throughout my mere 20+ yrs, it is a lesson in the instability of social perceptions.
All this being said though, i'm still dreading about the smoking ban in bars and clubs that is coming into effect in July. It is one thing to ban smoking in restaurant, but to take away one's right to enjoy a good icy pint and a ciggie inside a bar is just plain old blasphemy, because now you're fucking with tradition man. All smokers understand that their habit is bad for their health, and that's a risk they are willing to take at their own discretion. Of course, one then argues that it is those who doesn't smoke that are to be considered. That's only fair. Yet what I don't understand is that why can't we issue licenses for premises that cater to smokers or non-smokers exclusively. I mean, for those who don't smoke and are totally annoy by the presence of tobacco smoke, they can surely choose to go to smoke-free bars or clubs to enjoy their night out. To prohibit smoking in all bars and clubs is not a progressive move towards a better and 'healthier' society, because it strips the rights from those who want to smoke while having drinks with their friends on a night out. Personally for me, any move by a governmental body to prohibit others from committing a certain act is a regressive gesture, no matter what the act is, be it tobacco smoking or drug taking. Instead of "JUST SAY NO", a well-educated and well-informed public should have the right to say "JUST SAY KNOW" and have the freedom to choose to do whatever the fuck they want given that the act is not harmful to others unknowingly or unwillingly. And to be honest, if our government is really keen on providing us with a cleaner and healthier environment, i think the air-pollution problem is much more urgent. But of course, that's another story...
In less than two months, smoking will be ban in all public premises in Hong Kong, no longer will we be able to enjoy a pint with a ciggie in our hand in bars or clubs. What's the world coming to, it's depressing...
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