Laidback in a recliner at my balcony as I stare blankly into space. Trying to get some breather from loads of work in my email. Working from home seems more stressful than the usual office routine. "No thanks to Covid-19", I thought. It would have been a peaceful break time at the balcony but for the incessant barking of Bauer, my 'Rottweiler neighbor' next house.
Few minutes after conditioning my ears to filter off Bauer's fuss, Tunde called in. "Seriously now Tunde? Now is not the time to discuss football transfer news, abeg", I interrupted before Tunde could say a word. "No, this is about Ben", Tunde countered. "What about Ben?", I inquired. Tunde broke the bad news.
"For goodness sake why Ben?", I lamented.
Ben is a jolly good fellow of our three-man camp, except for being 'the odd one' as Tunde had dubbed him. He would never join those reckless stunts that Tunde and I indulge in. Well, 'reckless' was his opinion, not ours. When we told him it was mere fun, I remember his signature response, "That's not my idea of fun". What he obviously enjoys is the sheer bliss of having us around.
I was groping through my pockets for my cigarette box before Tunde relayed the news that Ben was diagnosed with lung cancer. He continued with a shaky voice, "And medical report revealed that this could be traced to heredity and strongly triggered by second-hand smoke based on investigation about Ben's lifestyle"
My fingers fumbled with the cigarette stick and it fell off as it dawned on me that Ben has been hanging out with smokers. Smokers that are no other than his reckless friends, Tunde and I. Tobacco kills more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke- WHO
The next time you burn that tobacco, remember that you might be digging two graves.
It can't be timelier than now to stress the consequence of smoking on rainy days such as this COVID-19-ridden present time. A tobacco-free generation starts with You and Me.