Smoking is a nasty habit, and I’ve never really understood why people do it in the first place. And Although I am used to seeing men and white girls smoking, it really bothers me even more when I see my African sisters smoking.
I grew up in an environment where women hardly smoked. If you did smoke then you were labelled as being promiscuous and a disgrace to the whole community. I know that some people will probably hate me for saying this but I also feel that black girls should never smoke either. It just doesn’t seem natural to see a black woman smoking.
But ever since came to Bloemfontein to further my studies I’ve noticed that there are many black girls who smoke. In fact, at our campus there are actually many girls who are smokers than boys. Everywhere I turn I always see an African sister with a cigarette on hand and smoke coming out of her mouth and nostrils, like a chimney on a cold winter’s day. And this makes me wonder really if these girls know what they are doing to their poor bodies.
Smoking is dangerous in so many ways. It causes lung cancer, cancer of the mouth, throat, pancreas, voice box, kidneys and urinary bladder. It also causes heart attacks, sleep problems, gum disease and many other problems. Female smokers are at an extra risk of getting cancer of the cervix (womb). They may also have menstrual problems and have spontaneous abortions (miscarriages).
Many people die from smoking as a result. According to World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco is a big public health priority and remains the leading cause of preventable deaths globally. It is currently responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide (approximately five million deaths each year). If smoking patterns continue, it will kill more than ten million each year. But these alarming figures don’t stop there. According to the International Union Against Tuberculosis Lung Disease, 13 500 people die daily as a result of tobacco related-diseases but this lost consumers are replaced by the 100 000 young people who start smoking every day.
And yet these numbers don’t seem to be of any concern to many of these African smoking ladies. It makes me wonder if they have a death wish or if they are just plain stupid. Smoking will poison your bodies and leave you dead, my African sisters.
Thandi Mkhatshwa grew up in the the small village of Tintswalo, South Africa. In 2007, she graduated from the Amazwi School of Media Arts with a Certificate in Narrative Journalism and Fieldwork Studies.She is now studying Accounting at South Africa's University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. She enjoys writing about every day life and events. She blogs once a week on AFRicanmag.com. Bookmark her blog at