Any journey starts with a step

By Abdellatif Sharaa

Being interested in fighting anything that harms my fellow human beings, I read publications of all types, especially as they speak about something new. I am an optimistic person by nature and what I went through in my life proves it, so a statement by the CEO of a leading tobacco company raised my hopes that first the cigarette as we know will be extinct, then the so-called alternatives will go into the history books once and for all.

“I am convinced it is possible to completely end cigarette sales in many countries within 10 to 15 years,” said the company’s CEO in a report that was published recently. The statement said that while the company insists smoking alternatives are less harmful than cigarettes, some health groups have expressed concern that heat-not-burn products expose consumers to other toxins and argue that long-term effects are not yet known.

The American FDA which approved the sale of an alternative still did not rule whether it can be marketed as less risky than cigarettes. It is known that what makes one hooked on smoking is nicotine, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse answered the question whether nicotine is addictive as follows:

“Yes. Most smokers use tobacco regularly because they are addicted to nicotine. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use, even in the face of negative health consequences. The majority of smokers would like to stop smoking, and each year about half try to quit permanently. Yet, only about six percent of smokers are able to quit in a given year. Most smokers will need to make multiple attempts before they are able to quit permanently.”

I do understand that companies are always for development and enhancement of their performance in the business world, but all must be careful about what is being delivered into the human body. When a person gets sick and finds it necessary to take medicine, they are most likely to complain of some side effects of the medicine itself despite safety and toxicity studies on it. Although most people can tolerate the side effects, some find themselves compelled to take other medicines to counter the side effects, and so on.

I hope that man will be considerate towards humankind and work towards protecting the race he belongs to from many inflected harms, the majority of which are manmade, be it in industry or in the streets – even the high seas are not spared.

The journey of 1,000 miles starts with a step, so let us have hope that as tobacco companies are going after alternatives to the traditional cigarette because of its obvious harms, one day even the so-called alternatives will rest in history books and businesses will turn to products beneficial to their fellow brothers and sisters. Nothing is impossible – nothing!

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