My Pledge to Stay Healthy
by Brian Kohaya
The California Tobacco Control Program is a proud sponsor of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. They are spreading the word to parents about the dangers of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigs, which more and more kids use because they come in flavors like mango and strawberry. In fact there are over 15,000 e-cigarette flavors on the market, many which are enticing to kids. And, 80% of kids who ever used tobacco started with flavored tobacco. All tobacco products are toxic and highly addictive. Visit FlavorsHookKids.org for more info.
My mother spent a month driving back and forth between Sacramento and San Francisco at least three times a week. Not for pleasure, but because she needed to take care of her father who was diagnosed with throat cancer. When I came home during spring break, I could see how the constant travel and endless phone calls with the doctors and insurance agents created a great amount of stress. But this was not the first time my family dealt with cancer. A decade before I was born, my paternal grandfather died of smoke-related lung cancer.
When my grandfathers were young, smoking was considered healthy and none of the health defects we know about now were known. But today we know. Today we know that smoking just one cigarette a day triples the risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Today we know and have the empirical research to show how smoking leads to a shorter life span.
That’s why I have made the pledge to never smoke and I encourage all my friend to do so as well. Smoking can seem attractive due to its euphoric and stress-relieving effects of tobacco. But ask yourself, is a small amount of relief now worth years off your life? There are many other ways to relieve stress rather than smoking. I recommend exploring your city or going to the gym. There’s so many ways to healthily remove stress from your lives that doesn’t involve the use of tobacco.
Brian Kohaya is a graduating senior at UCLA studying psychology and Asian American studies. He can often be found in the archive room drinking a mango green tea from Twinkle Brown Sugar.