Tobacco Good, Cigarettes Bad

I hear volunteers are being sought to settle on Mars before 2020. “A one-way trip,” they say. Are you interested? I think I’ll pass! Bungee jumping? I’ll pass on that too! A cigarette? No thanks!!!

I was a big smoker at one time. Started out with Export A in my teen years, then switched to Player’s Filter in my early twenties. Puffed on at least 32 of the poison sticks each and every day of the week. What did I get out of it? Nothing good, I’ll tell you that. I remember when I vowed to kiss John Player and his disgusting weed goodbye once and for all.

An elderly lady I respected greatly had passed away from an illness brought on from smoking. Her body was found sitting in her favorite armchair, a cigarette, yet to be lit, rested between her fore and middle fingers, her right hand held a ‘Bic’ lighter. On the table near the body a freshly opened large pack of cigarettes, full minus one, sat atop a glass ashtray. I heard the news and went to pay my respects. At the funeral home one of her relatives asked me if I wanted the cigarettes found near the old girl’s corpse. I took the cigarettes and standing beside the coffin I requested that she (the deceased) help me to quit smoking. “I know you wanted to quit yourself,” I said, “but could not do it. From the world where you are now you can help me find the strength to give up cigarettes.” The cigarettes in the package the dead lady unwrapped in the few seconds before her death were the last cigarettes I ever smoked. The lady who could not find the motivation to stop smoking herself, obliged me my request. The spirit world is a powerful place. Never, ever, doubt it!

Leaving the land where the bones of my beloved relatives, deceased many moons ago, are returning to dust makes no sense to me. To leave Turtle Island and go to Mars, even if Mars offered more opportunities for me and my loved ones, would not diminish the nonsense I see in going there. To tie an elastic cord around my ankle and then jump off a high cliff is a big thing of foolishness to me, too. But even more crazy for me is the thought of putting the end of a paper wrapped, smoldering, chemical filled, tobacco stick into my mouth and willingly drawing poisons into my lungs. Man, the crap in the cigarettes can possibly bring about a torturous death for the people who smoke them. How could I do that and still claim to be sane? Cigarettes are not cool, they’re nonsense!

I smoked for many, many years. If I got a buzz from a cigarette it must have been pretty minute, ‘cause I have no memory of any joy or feelings of Shangri-La I received from them. I do remember coughing like hell in the morning and getting winded almost to the point of falling over after running a hundred feet. Smoking is a nasty addiction. I recall after smoking, bringing my hand up to my face to scratch my nose and smelling my nicotine covered fingers. Stinko!!!! I imagined taking a long drawn-out sniff of my lungs after a day of smoking. The stink would no doubt have made me woozy. To my friends who smoke I ask: Have you ever taken even 10 minutes out of your life to ponder the catastrophic damage smoking can do to your health?

I quit smoking about 15 years ago. The 3 weeks after my last cigarette were not good. But it wasn’t so bad after that and I was good to go in short order. Today, I wonder how it came to be that I was so foolish as to ever begin smoking in the first place.

I talked with a friend the other day who said, “In this world everything begins with money.” Maybe it does today, but there was a time in the past where everything began with tobacco. Tobacco was not associated with death in those days. It was connected to the good life. It was offered onto the forest floor for the pipes of our long dead ancestors. It was given into the rapids of the Great River as a gift so our journey on the river of life would be a good one. When we wanted assurance that a promise or commitment would be kept, we brought tobacco into the circle. Fire could only be made sacred when tobacco was placed into it. Somewhere along history’s pathway, abuse of tobacco became rampant. Too bad, too bad indeed!

Keep the Circle Strong,
Albert “South Wind” Dumont.

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One Response to Tobacco Good, Cigarettes Bad

  1. Julie Comber says:

    Kwey Kwey South Wind,
    Thank you for this post! I was surprised in 2010 to learn that the Makushi in Guyana also consider tobacco to be sacred. I’m learning that many Peoples consider tobacco to be sacred. I is sad that today, so people many abuse it in the form of toxic cigarettes that hurts themsleves and their loved ones. I hope over time, more people will use tobacco as a Medicine rather than as a Poison.
    Keep Shining,

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