The clear blue skyline welcomes a visitor to most of the European countries at this point of the year. It is summers time… no more of grey and black colour to be seen anywhere. Summers have rejuvenated life of all living beings. The green plants are shining at their bestest green shine! The young, old and children are in their flowery and colorful summer dresses. There is colour everywhere…the colour of life. There seems to be no place for grey colour in this ambiance of summer. But something that I find extremely disturbing is the grayish smoky ambiance taking over under the clear skyline of Eindhoven! This gray doesn’t seem to gel with the overall ambiance of the Summers!
And when I observe that the young and old damsel are contributing to this grayish smoky ambience, I am , all the more disturbed. I am sure that I have inhaled so much of smoke to my lungs in the past three days as would suffice me for life time. Or is it that I am being, too, harsh in my observation. It is not just the skyline that is turning gray with the smoke of the cigarettes but the grounds and roads, as well, are strewn with cigarette butts. Wherever you look around you, the butts of cigarettes stare hard at you—the cigarette butts that have had adored the lips of young and old alike but trampled under feet having served their purpose, stare hard at me. They seem to seek a respectable goodbye from people who have enjoyed when they burnt their life to give sensory pleasures to the users. The least these cigarette butts deserve is a decent burial…or is it too much to ask for.
The Netherlands is a clean country. The Dutch have such keen sense for cleanliness so why such disregard for strewn cigarettes butts adorning the, otherwise, clean grounds and roads.
Cigarette smoking is such a common sight in Netherlands that after a while my eyes had become accustomed to watching people smoking freely.
Though the Government is doing all that is within its power to curb the menace of smoking. The legal smoking age in the Netherlands is 18 years old. The sale of tobacco to children under 18 is illegal. People that are 25 years old and younger have to show an ID at the cashier. It is right that I have not come across any young child smoking even surreptitiously but of what use it is if they end up smoking once they get the license to smoke. And in return for a short-lived pleasure derived from cigarette smoking get some ailment.
Michel Rudolphie, KWF director, said in a press release: ‘It is often said that smoking is good for society from a financial perspective because it provides the treasury with tax revenue and smokers die at a younger age so do not use their pensions’. This research proves the opposite. Anti-tobacco initiatives would not only promote health but also contribute financially to society. Meanwhile, a Dutch woman with terminal lung cancer, Anne Marie van Veen, is putting together a group criminal case against cigarette producers for allegedly ‘deliberately damaging people’s health.’
I was really worried about the cigarette smoke that must be affecting even the non-smokers as these people are as much exposed to the harms of smoke as are the smokers. That is something on the down-side that I would rate Netherlands on! The more disturbing for me was a child’s bike and an empty cigarette pack lying side by side near a tree. If on the one hand I loved the child to be learning biking as a healthy life style as such an young age, on the other hand the empty pack of cigarettes heralded the danger of acquiring smoking when the child would grow up to be an adult.
The Netherlands sure have to find a way to cut down on cigarette smoking!