There is a rather unsettling kind of obsession with smoking in my generation. It, perhaps, is a cultural vestige of the twentieth century that relates smoking with the ideas of being "cool". But from my experience and upon carefully noticing instances in a personal capacity as well was in mass media, smoking has been marketed as a physical symptom of sadness. I recently received an accusatory comment on one of my posts, which said that I am glorifying smoking, but literally everyone knows the science behind smoking and all packaging of cigarettes is splashed with gut-wrenching images of tumours, which leads me to believe that smoking is, after all, a conscious choice for most. .
This deadly idea of smoking being projected as both, cool and sad, has had a cascading effect in increasing nicotine dependence for many. You become the cool one, on the surface, but inside you're desperately trying to cling on to someone's attention, waiting for your crush to look at you for the smoke exhaled from your mouth but to find sadness adulturated with a desperate yearning to be touched and held in your eyes. And it does work, sometimes, people are convinced that you are a member of this unbothered, unfazed kind of species. Then comes the bonding over 'sutta', making faceless, nameless friends in college fests who have a lighter, a certain kind of feigned invincibility. How many billboards, warnings and pamphlets will stop us when smokers start to organise as exclusive clubs where depression and desperation are embraced as a natural state of being? When the musty smell of tobacco brings back memories of times when you felt free of inhibitions that weigh you down? Smoking, then, becomes a radical kind of social signalling and politics, that kills but gives gives voice to heartbreak