With nerves frayed and a shaking yearning to get out of the constricted workspace, you wait until the clock strikes 12.
You finger your pockets just to check whether your lighter or pack of Marlboro lights Gold is still there.
“Just a few more seconds…” you mutter to yourself while watching the red hand of that clock in front of you make its arduous journey to the number 12.
You automatically swallow and your fingers shake as you discover that the pack inside your pocket is actually empty. You loosen your tie a bit as you think about the nearest place you could buy cigarettes.
Two blocks away.
In frustration, you grab that empty pack and crush it in your hands then aim for a three pointer. You pose, you shoot, but the crumpled piece of paper and plastic bounces off the rim. You bend over to pick the wayward piece of paper as your fellow slave to the clock looks at you disapprovingly.
You smile sheepishly and say, “Lebron is losing his touch.” and grudgingly you throw the ball of paper inside the bin.
You sit back and then feel a cough coming. Instinctively, you grab your white handkerchief before the cough comes out. You’ve been used to it, pretty routine stuff. Your shoulders heave and your chest rises just in time for you to cover your mouth.
You cough hard, one, two, three times.
Alright, “That’s done”, you think to yourself as you adjust the old clock on your desk.
That’s when you see it: blood on your handkerchief.
Revolting and vile, the mixture of spit, yellowish brown phlegm, and crimson blood oozing on your handkerchief strikes you still. Suddenly, that old clock seems to stop at 11:59. The raised eyebrow of your workmate becomes irrelevant.
You’re sick, and you know it.
“Smokers cost their employers nearly $6,000 a year more than staff who don’t smoke,” read the first line in an article by NBC news. (Source: NBCNews)
It’s a well known occurrence that have surprised even the researchers of the study because it has not been documented yet.
I know this first hand, as I’ve once worked in a company and saw how a fellow smoker almost lost it all. He had no insurance whatsoever and it’s a good thing that our employer was a generous man. The boss paid for the hospitalization.
I’ve also seen an uninsured working man who contracted Tubercolosis and have had to suffer the rigors of the Philippine public health system and I’m telling you, you wouldn’t want to be in that situation.
“Excess healthcare costs of smokers, who have higher rates of lung disease, heart disease, various cancers and other illnesses: $2,055.77.” (Source: NBCNews 2013)
But you already know all this.
The question is what are you going to do about it?