13th May 2016
With Antigua and Barbuda's No-Tobacco Week and World No-Tobacco Day just around the corner, one of the island's former smokers shared a detailed testimony of his life as a tobacco addict and how he overcame his love for cigarettes.
Popular Radio Jockey, James "Sly J" Simon, who was an avid smoker for over two decades, spoke of his time as a cigarette addict, and the question that he was asked by his children which really made him think about his actions.
"After a while I realized that all I was doing was killing myself; choking my lungs with all that smoke, it was not doing me any good so I decided that it was time for me to stop. But what really happened was that my children asked me why do I smoke and why do I drink and I didn't really have an answer to give so when a child ask a question like that and you can't answer I felt like a fool and since I couldn't give an answer I decided to quit", James said.
He said it was one of the greatest decisions of his life.
"It was ruining me, it was controlling me, I don't understand why every second I had to walk out of my office and go out on the verandah and puff and puff, and go back inside for fifteen minutes and then back outside again and huff and puff. But my God above who looks down with tender love, I asked him to help me out of that situation and he did and I quit with that cigarette business", Simon confirmed.
When asked how he started to smoke in the first place, he admitted that it was more of a peer pressure issue for him since he was just a young man in the company of others who were smokers.
The veteran radio personality had some very practical advice for today's smokers.
"First of all if you are going to quit, you have to first have to acknowledge that you have a problem because if you don't think that smoking is a problem then nothing can make you stop, if you don't think drugs is a problem for you then nobody in this world or rehab center can help you. "If it doesn't add to your life, it doesn't make any sense because what do you get from smoking? Do you get protein? Do you get Vitamins? Do you get minerals or antibodies that you need to stay alive and be healthy? The answer is no, so what's the sense of smoking then", Simon asked.
Antigua and Barbuda's No-Tobacco Week starts on May 23 and will feature a number of initiatives including a health walk, advocacy programs and a social media campaign as well as a poetry competition in primary schools.
According to Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Tobacco Free Initiative, Colin O'Keiffe, plans are also in the pipeline for the enactment of Tobacco Control Legislation in 2016.
This year's World No-Tobacco Day falls on Tuesday May 31.
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