When I was 15, I was a bit of a rebellious teenager. I made the mistake of lighting up a cigarette, and it was a habit I didn’t kick for almost 13 years.
Back when I started smoking, it wasn’t as frowned upon as it is today. Over the last 10 years, society’s perceptions on the matter have massively altered. When I was younger, there were still smoking areas in restaurants. These weren’t outside, they were actual sections inside the open space where people could smoke. On my 18th birthday, you could still smoke inside at the pub. You’d walk inside to a haze and stench of both stale and fresh cigarette smoke from years of people smoking inside, day after day. There were ashtrays under the bar and cigarette butts littering the floors where people just stomped them out – even on the dancefloor. Thinking back, it was kind of gross.
Almost everyone in my circle of friends smoked, or had smoked. It was a common thing. The tobacco taxes hadn’t yet come in, and a pack of 25 cigarettes would only set you back about $9. The packages weren’t covered in confronting images like they are today, instead they were appealingly coloured with their trademark designs.
We all knew smoking was “bad”, but so many of our parents smoked – how terrible could it really be? None of us were too concerned about our health, in our youth, like many, we didn’t consider our mortality. But as the years went by, the dangers of smoking became almost impossible to ignore.
* Smokers who fail to quit face ‘financial devastation’
* Tax burden unfair on smokers
* Ex-smoker says health scare shocked her into quitting
* Prince Harry reportedly quits smoking for Meghan Markle
Year after year, new laws came into place, laws which pushed smoking away from most public areas. No more smoking in restaurants or pubs, no smoking on beaches or in parks, no smoking in cars with children or in the entryways to shopping centres. Packages were stripped of their classic designs, and embellished with gruesome images. Prices started climbing, so much so that nowadays a packet of 25 cigarettes is likely to cost you upwards of…
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