Indoctrination by Poupetta

To smoke, as an act of rebellion, while being a teenager, does not seem rebellious to me at all. It is ignorantly giving in to indoctrination from both the immediate circle of friends and the huge, aggressive cigarette manufacturers assisted by the media.
I have often reasoned with myself that if our teenagers want to rebel against society, if they strive to become independent and think for themselves, so why on earth do they fall like flies into the vicious nets of nicotine advertising pushers? Indoctrinators who don't give a damn about anything at all but their greed for money and power?
If our children achieve the understanding and grasp the fact that they are being utterly manipulated-- played smoothly like the play-dough they used themselves not too long ago-- in the hands of those guilt-free companies & fancy executives, would they let themselves be used without a fight?
These companies, who despite the hypocritical label "hazardous to your health" on their products, become more sophisticated in masking their bloody claws into trendy, polished palavers, all in order to get our children as fast as they possibly can and turn them into addicts for life, would our children then so easily fall into these well calculated traps? If they saw the catch in time?
Wouldn't our beloved children rebel against this despicable wickedness which robs them of their freedom, and in the long run of their heath as well, wouldn't they then boycott all those damned cigarettes? After all our children see us, their role models, adults who try numerous times to quit smoking, yet fail again and again and jeopardize our health. If only they would see the plot when there is still time.
My beloved Aunt started to smoke as a joke when she was only 16 y/o. Like everybody else she wanted to appear tougher than she was, she wanted to be popular. Throughout her life she inhaled large amounts of the addictive drug until her lungs were totally pierced and black with tar. She tried to quit smoking time after time, succeeded only for a week or so, went on smoking and continued to struggled for nearly 60 years. All in vain, she was doomed from her very first "supposedly innocent" cigarette.
I saw her agony, I saw her terrible suffering. I saw her die in horrible pain, totally in the merciless arms of the cruel lung cancer caused by nicotine.
If only our children could see in time the traps that are put out for them disguised as freedom of choice.
I still remember that cigarette which I deliberately took in order to aggravate my mom-- I was only 15 or 16 y/o at the time, it was my job to rebel against her, right?
It all started a few days earlier. Two of my high-school mates called me to have a cigarette with them in a hidden corner of the school yard. One of the girls, Yona was her name-- beautiful, thick long blond braid hanging heavily on her back, smart girl, bright in class-- was my idol, someone I looked up to and wanted to be as good as she, especially in mathematics, a subject I had always difficulties with. The other girl, Devorah, was already a smoker, as far as I can recall. Yona had always enough pocket money to buy cigarettes and so she offered me one. I took it and sucked on it, not really knowing what to do, but i didn't want to appear childish so I went on blowing some smoke. After a few minutes my mouth had a disgusting taste in it and I felt nauseated, however, I still didn't stop, all I wanted was to be like Yona, popular and at the top of our class. If she did it it was an act of boldness and daring which I admired.
I decided to buy a packet of mint flavored cigarettes, called Polaris at the time, mid 60's, and waited for the moment to confront my mother. The opportunity didn't take long to show up.
That Friday afternoon, after school was done for the week, Mom and I were sitting and discussing something which I can't remember now what it was. I opened my little brown leather purse, took out the unopened package of cigarettes, tore up the cellophane wrapping, pulled out a long, white cigarette, elegantly, so I thought, putting it in my mouth, waiting excitedly for the reaction of my strict disciplinary mother. I was ready for a wild fight and about to lit my liberating cigarette, my act of rebellion, when Mommy said very calmly:
"Alors, Poupetta, tu fumes maintenant?"... So I see that you have taken up smoking, huh..."
"Yes!" I said triumphantly, provocatively, anticipating the big revolution I had in mind, imagining my mother's fuming outburst and uncontrollable anger.
Well, come on, give it to me, Mom, my 15-16 years old energy boiled in me.
Well... I sat there, still holding onto that famous cigarette, but the spark from that friction I was delivering so eagerly didn't get on fire. Neither did my cigarette for that matter. It was simply dull. Mom said no more, so unlike her, I thought, she always lectured me, always. Why, only the other day she was praising Yona, who came for a visit, urging me to take after her studious nature, I who had nothing but the Beatles on my mind!
It was a total flat disappointment, no reaction was boring and so I didn't see why I should go on pretending I liked smoking when I actually despised the smell and taste of it. And if I couldn't even get Mom aggravated so why on earth bother at all.
"Here, Mommy, take it," I said handing her the brand new package of Polaris mint cigarettes.
This is a copy of Poupetta's post on flickr which I posted here with permission in hopes of making a difference, if only to one person.

You may like to check an earlier post of mine that relates to the theme of smoking here: A Poignant Moment

Aljazeera reports on Outsourcing Addiction: "Research shows smoking has killed more people globally than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, drugs and crime combined. Despite the risks, tobacco profits continue to soar, reaching $35 billion in 2010, or the combined profits of Coca-Cola, Microsoft and McDonald's."... "It is predicted 80 per cent of global tobacco consumption will be in the developing world by 2030."


  1. Thanks so much for giving me the space for my thoughts here on your blog.
    I second you "In hopes of making a difference, if only to one person," and say Amen.

    1. Dear Poupetta, I am delighted that you stand up for your convictions publicly, you can be a guest blogger here any time. If we all just do our little bit to make a difference in the world, if only we speak up and speak our truth when it matters.

  2. Thank you so much, dear Om.