The Beautiful Deadly Habit

The hardest place in the world to quit smoking is Europe! Smoking has developed into such a social norm, a brand of cigarette someone smokes can tell you a lot about a person. Cigarettes are as essential as a brand name of purse or shoes! Every bar and every cafe has seating outside just for smokers and in the winter there are smoking rooms. Smokers are welcomed and celebrated everywhere in is ancient continent. In every club beautiful women are selling these cancer sticks with flirtatious grins . The nasty habit is still looked at as a glamorous act of the elite.Being an American in a European country gives one perspective on others habits, cultures, and of course social contrasts. The way smoking is looked at here has to be the most bizarre to me. Women smoke as they prepare their big Saturday lunch and as they hang their clothes on the line, men smoke and have long drawn out conversations about politics and work. Where I come from , New York City, this is such a shameful act. We have cast the cigarette smokers out like lepers in old times were, but I come here and everyone is doing it out in the open for everyone to see! The European people have cigarette smoking so routine and so culturally based that their physical features,effects of smoking, have become characterized as a product of heredity! The sunken,dull eyes and pale lifeless cheeks due to lack of good circulation has become a trait that makes any outsider stick out like a sore thumb. The dried up lips and yellow finger nails and teeth are about as common as bangs were in the nineties. A great deal of these people have been smoking since they were between 12 and 13 years of age! So their brain is so wired to cigarettes there are not many things that would thrill these people. Everything that happens between cigarette breaks is just making it until the next buzz. The saddest thing is how these Europeans claim to be so health conscious and then suck on rat poison in the same sentence. Cigarettes have been defined as a necessary expense and health risk in this culture. It is a way of making friends and way of relaxing from the long, hard day. Europeans feel as though Americans are the peppy cheerleaders and dominative jocks just by our demeanor and presence. I see Europeans as the beautiful 3 day old flowers bitter, dry and wilting from so much smoke. Their demeanor, appearance, attitude is all because once this poison enters your veins it is you and entering so young certainly takes a toll. It simply amazes me how little these people know about cancer sticks. One woman, 49, told me she wanted to get injections to make her lips plumper, she went on to tell me and show pictures of when she was young how full her lips once were. Intrigued, I asked her when she started smoking and she told me 15! Shocked, I continued to show her the effects smoking has on ones appearance and she was so shocked and embarrassed she told me she would quit smoking on the first of January! I came back into the country just last week and when I met up with her, she had her left hand on her hip and her favorite accessory on the other end of her right hand. So you see, if you find yourself in a situation in another part of the world and find it hard to conceive how you could kick the habit, think of my story and Europeans’ reality and you will see while it is difficult it is more likely you will quit when your environment supports your decision to live a healthier and happier life!

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