Tuesday, October 23, 2007


During the past few days, we've tackled three interesting health topics: 1) the perilous side effects of aspartame; 2) losing weight without the strenuous excercises; and 3) the healing properties, as well as the adverse effects on the male libido, of papayas.

I thank everyone for sharing their views on these matters. I am confident that the personal experiences you shared will help others decide which ideal steps to take when pursuing a healthier lifestyle for themselves.

There is one other significant health issue I'd like to bring up -- cigarette smoking.

However, the intention here is not to shame smokers into quitting. I was once seriously addicted to nicotine and realized that my inability to quit was beyond the seemingly lack of will power. The addiction, for me, was simply a soul thing; a very personal battle.

Moreover, in the blog entry I had written, No Butts No More, I said, " Ask me to talk to someone about kicking his smoking habit and I wouldn’t do it. First of all, I was once in his position — the more people would tell me to stop smoking, the more I would light up a cigarette; not out of defiance, but because just the thought of how tough it is to quit would only make me light up another stick."

I remain steadfast in this personal belief.

Now, for this particular entry, I'd like to put the spotlight, so to speak, on the op-ed article published in yesterday's New York Times -- A Two-Cigarette Society.

Authored by David G. Adams --
lawyer and director of the policy staff at the Food and Drug Administration from 1992 to 1994 -- whose goal is to prevent our children from developing nicotine addiction. He argues that "decades of addiction will mean disease and death for millions of our children."

Adams claims our children begin to smoke cigarettes largely because of peer pressure, and will continue to smoke due to the nicotine's addictive qualities; too powerful for most young people and adults to conquer. Supposedly, about 90 percent of smokers regret having developed a nicotine dependency, and have made attempts to quit.

As a possible solution to this growing problem, Adams suggests a two-cigarette strategy.

As he envisions it, the tobacco industry will produce cigarettes that are nicotine-free (which it is capable of doing) while regulators will develop clear standards for non-addictive cigarettes.

He goes on to suggest, "The age to purchase addictive cigarettes might be set at 21. Better yet, sales of addictive cigarettes could be restricted to individuals born 19 or more years before the two-cigarette strategy was put into effect. Under this approach, 18-year-olds who start smoking non-addictive cigarettes would be prohibited from switching to addictive cigarettes even after they turned 21. In addition, a higher federal excise tax on addictive cigarettes than on non-addictive cigarettes would create a financial incentive for smokers of all ages, including scofflaw adolescents, to select non-addictive cigarettes."

Essentially, If addiction can be prevented at the outset, Adams would not want another day wasted.

Health officials ought to give Adams' recommendations a very serious consideration. Each day, many of our children are getting addicted to nicotine. Personally, I wouldn't wish even on my worst enemy the experiences I had gone through as a nicotine addict.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that in New York, since Starbucks has become very popular for children to hang out at after school, its staff would serve decaffeinated coffee on any of its coffee-based refreshments ordered by minors whether asked for or not. I think this is a very responsible attitude by Starbucks. Last thing we need is to have some of our school children running around strung-out on caffeine.


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:54 AM


Blogger Em Dy said...

I know how difficult it is to quit smoking. I've never been a smoker but I constantly see patients who struggle to quit.

While much weight has been placed on nicotine, cigarettes have other substances which are equally toxic to the body.

We had a neighbor before who would smoke in our house because her husband forbids her to do so. Though we are a family of nonsmokers, my mom couldn't tell her not to smoke in the house because of courtesy. She would hide her matches and cigarette sticks behind a vase on top of the piano. I was tempted to try it but I was scared of my family if they found out that I did. It's a good thing that I didn't.

So maybe if we can't stop smoking, let's prevent others from starting the habit. One way would be not to leave these items within children's reach much like how we manage medicine. After all, children of smokers are more likely to become smokers than children of nonsmokers.

You might want to check out what I think of smoking and George Clooney.

October 23, 2007 11:34 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

I started being a chain smoker early after my college years...due to peer pressure. Everyone I was with smoked. It was only when I started having the so-called smoker's cough and a severe bout of bronchitis did I decide to stop. And i did...just like that. I have a sister-in-law who no matter what she experiences (severe smoker's cough, parental insinuations, financial lapses, etc...) keeps on smoking. I feel quite concerned and yet helpless.

As Marcel Marceux (the great mime-ist) once said "I could have taken more care of myself if I knew i would live this long."

October 23, 2007 12:45 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

I'm an on and off smoker. There used to be days when I so yearned for cigarettes and there were also times when I just didn't want even a puff.

Right now however, I only smoke one stick a day when I see some lying around (husband is a light smoker - 3 to 4 in a day).

As among my children, only Marco did some smoking, but only for a while. There came a day, when, like you - he just decided to stop.

With Aypee and Gem - ooops... They "scold" me and hubby whenever we light cigarettes. I reason out - "but it's just one stick a day!" And Aypee says: "Yes, one stick a day and that is 365 sticks in a year."

I'm not really addicted to it. But I guess I need to totally refrain from smoking - for the sake of the whole family (y'know - kids also inhale the smoke). Thanks for this post, Eric.

October 23, 2007 1:43 PM  

Blogger ROMY said...




October 23, 2007 3:22 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Sadly, Rhoda, despite the various awareness programs, many of our children still experiment with smoking and before you know it, their system is addicted to the substance that is nicotine. Marco is quite lucky to have gotten off before it got too late in the game.

In the early days, tobacco may have been prepared for smoking with a special intended purpose, and smoking some dried leaves or herbs do have medicinal effects. Unfortunately, some scientists and businessmen soon concocted cigarettes; hence the rest is history.

I don't blame your children for getting on your case whenever you lit up a cigarette. :)

October 23, 2007 3:33 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I had fully resigned to the idea, Nutart, that I'd spend the rest of my life as a chain smoker. I was really surprised when one day I just found myself no longer having any desire to light up. It was amazing.

The raspy voice, smoker's dry cough and wrinkles around the lips are only a couple of its nasty symptoms. And glad to know that you were able to stop just in time. Congratulations!

October 23, 2007 3:37 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And what makes it worse, Em Dy, is that sometimes our children learn to smoke from their friends in school.

Both my parents smoked and when old enough, my mom would sometimes ask me to light her a cigarette. I only started smoking regulary when in later years of high school. It started with a cigarette a day until eventually got hooked for good.

In our local society, it is sad to notice that young boys, especially in economically-challenged areas, equate cigarette smoking with maturity and machismo. A very unfortunate misconception, indeed.

October 23, 2007 3:49 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I didn't see this movie, Romy, but based on those links, this must be one hilarious movie. I don't think they showed it in the theaters around Metro Manila.

I like this:

Lorne Lutch: You look like a nice enough fella. What are you doing working for these assholes?

Nick Naylor: I'm good at it. Better at doing this than I ever was at doing anything else.

Lorne Lutch: Aw, hell, son. I was good at shooting VC. I didn't make it my career.


October 23, 2007 4:08 PM  

Blogger ROMY said...

...It is hilarious indeed, it's been favoured by many critics both here and abroad, I thought that it'd be apros pos to your post. I just wish I knew how to make the link 'clickable' so that other readers would have easier acces to it. : )

October 24, 2007 12:36 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I had a good time reading the excerpts from their scripts, Romy. Thanks!

Do let me know please when you learned how to do that clickable thingy ... hehehe.

October 24, 2007 6:13 AM  

Blogger nerdluck said...

I was a somker for 10 years before I quit 4 years ago. I never had a hard time at all. Before that, my father said:

"It's not true that you will have difficulty quitting. You just need a reason to quit. I was a chain smoker before I had you and your brother."

I wouldn't have believed it had I not experienced it myself. My twins helped me a lot in quitting. No nasty cravings and other symptoms whatsoever. Goodluck to those who on the path to quitting

October 24, 2007 9:42 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Oftentimes, the upcoming birth of a child is a powerful enough impetus to make even a chain smoker quit for good.

Congratulations to you, Nerdluck, for successfully kicking the habit and for having those twin bundle of joy. :)

October 24, 2007 10:05 AM  

Blogger g_mirage said...

hello Senor! I did post a comment yesterday just dont know if i actually hit the publish comment button... =)

October 24, 2007 2:15 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Probably not, G.Mirage. Would you mind resending? Thanks :)

October 24, 2007 3:42 PM  

Anonymous Mario said...

I am not a smoker myself but see a lot of friends and relatives who smoke and wanting to stop but can't.

Australia is pretty tough with smokers. A pack of smokes cost about A$11.00. Hefty consumption tax goes into healthcare and anti-smoking campaigns. Pubs and bars recently banned smoking, not even a "smokers area" on or about the buildings.

I don't know whether these initiatives work, but smokers are given a hard time both financially and socially. I hope these anti smoking campaign works. They even suggested for patients with smoke related illnesses to be refused treatment... harsh indeed.

Hope the Philippines at least raise cigarattes taxes, at least to go to public hospitals and anti-smoking campaigns.

Great for those who managed to stop smoking...


October 24, 2007 4:42 PM  

Anonymous Mario said...

Sorry Senor for my long comment...

Love that ubiquitous Guitar matchbox.... just caught my eye.

Started my own blog because I was so inspired by you guys.


October 24, 2007 4:47 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

No apolgy necessary, Mario. You had, in fact, educated us in regards to the Australian authorities' view on the smoking issue. I had no idea that they really are headstrong on addressing this issue. Thanks much!

I remember back in New York when it was rumored that the US tobacco industry wasn't at all alarmed with the growing concerns on the perils of smoking or US sales dipping, because they have China as the next market to conquer which is much more populous than than America.

Congratulations on your very own blog. I will visit it :)

October 24, 2007 4:59 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Mario!

Is your site strictly for your fellow masons only? I didn't know whether to leave a comment or not.

October 24, 2007 5:05 PM  

Anonymous bw said...

You could sense the frustration of society's battle against smoking when the movie censorship board of Canada proposed to label ANY movie that shows someone smoking as R
( Restricted). Not sure if this approach is effective but any effort that could stop someone from smoking and killing himself I think is a step in the right direction.

The cost of a cigarette pack here is so ridiculously high that I've seen a French tourist swear and back off when she was trying to buy a pack of Citanes at the airport.

October 24, 2007 9:46 PM  

Blogger g_mirage said...

SAme sentiments as Rhodora's last para...

We all know that smoking is dangerous to our health, so it says in the ads and packages...which is also a good escape of cigarette manufacturing companies in case a person diagnosed of smoking related illness tries to sue them...they're simple answer: we warned you "cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health" was it not in the package?

Smoking, like an old habit, just never dies....
I was not into smoking though, I tried maybe upto 5 sticks...but never get to like it...The good book, my favorite book has a good and 'pünktlich' (i think this translates to right to the point in english)...overused passage that those who would like to quit could think about.

Matthew 22:39 "Love your neighbor as yourself." If we genuinely love the people around us, then we should think of the harm smoking causes not only us but others around us. Many call Smoking as 'slow suicide' which I clearly dont need to explain why...Let me share a story, Charles was a farmer in western Kenya. In 1998 he sold over 18,000 pounds [8,000 kg] of tobacco and was awarded a certificate that named him the Best Tobacco Farmer. At that time, he began to study the Bible. Soon he came to realize that a person involved in tobacco production violates the command to love one’s neighbor. (Matthew 22:39) Upon concluding that ‘the best tobacco farmer’ was really ‘the best killer,’ Charles stopped his tobacco production.....=D So its a good start on the part of Adams...(and starbucks...) sorry humaba..

October 24, 2007 10:15 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Now, that is one powerful thought, G. Mirage -- "Love your neighbor as yourself."

If only each and everyone of us could embody it ours would be a wonderful world, no doubt. Not only tobacco peddlers should heed this call but those of alcohol as well, including everything else that jeopardizes the health and life of each and everyone of us.

However, until that day comes, we all should remain cognizant of all dangerous products and do whatever we can to prevent our children from getting addicted to them.

Thanks, G. Mirage!

October 25, 2007 7:01 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And would you believe, BW, that my parents most probably got into smoking because of Hollywood's glamourized images of cigarette smoking movie stars? .... hehehe.

Rated R simply because pf scenes showing smoking a cigarette? Wow! But then again, why not? Anything that would help trigger anyone to light up a cigarette should be restricted.

Sadly, despite the high costs of cigarettes, too many are still unable to kick their addiction.

October 25, 2007 7:05 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

My father was a heavy smoker for more than half of his life. At his worst, he was doing 2 packs a day. Sometimes even 3!

When he had his first apo (my kid), he decided to kick the habit so he could be alive for her debut. He went cold turkey. Two years later he was diagnosed with cancer. He lived another 5 months before saying goodbye to everything earthly.

Smoking is bad!! Smoking kills!! Stop smoking!!

October 25, 2007 8:11 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

So sorry to hear about your father, Scrooch.

It should be noted that cigarette smoking is not only a major threat to the smoker, but for his entire family as well.

My father, didn't die of smoking; alcohol did him in. It was devastating for the whole family.

October 25, 2007 1:36 PM  

Blogger joe said...

Eric, this must be a good movie to rent at Blockbuster judging by what
ROMY says. So here's the clickable links to it:



Hope this helps!

October 26, 2007 7:42 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Unfortunately, Joe, there's no Blockbuster here in Manila, and the local video rental places are not usually up-to-date with its inventory.

The only other option is to visit Quiapo's DVD merchants and hopefully, find a copy of this movie :)

October 26, 2007 8:11 AM  

Blogger ROMY said...



October 28, 2007 12:14 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hey, Romy, you were supposed to teach me as well how to to this linking procedure for the comment page ... hehehe.

The URL addresses can be too long at time, and this would be much ideal.


October 28, 2007 7:00 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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