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City of Banjul
Monday, October 26, 2020

Smoking is wrong and puts our lives in serious danger

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Allow me to share my view through your medium, The Standard, on smoking. The act is very wrong. It affects one’s heart, brain, bloodstream and other parts of the body. It is possible to get disease from smoking and even die. A lot of people these days are beginning to smoke. That is because they don’t care what cigarettes do to their health. They think it makes them well. Smoking can turn lungs black and make them hard to breathe. Tobacco smoke is enormously harmful to your health. There’s no safe way to smoke. Replacing your cigarette with a cigar, pipe, or hookah won’t help you avoid the health risks associated with tobacco products. One of the ingredients in tobacco is a mood-altering drug called nicotine. Nicotine reaches your brain in mere seconds. It’s a central nervous system stimulant, so it makes you feel more energised for a little while. As that effect subsides, you feel tired and crave more. Nicotine is habit forming. Smoking increases risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and poor eyesight. It can also weaken your sense of taste and sense of smell, so food may become less enjoyable. Your body has a stress hormone called corticosterone, which lowers the effects of nicotine. If you’re under a lot of stress, you’ll need more nicotine to get the same effect. Physical withdrawal from smoking can impair your cognitive functioning and make you feel anxious, irritated, and depressed. Withdrawal can also cause headaches and sleep problem.

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Furthermore, when you inhale smoke, you’re taking in substances that can damage your lungs. Over time, your lungs lose their ability to filter harmful chemicals. Coughing can’t clear out the toxins sufficiently, so these toxins get trapped in the lungs. Smokers have a higher risk of respiratory infections, colds, and flu. In a condition called emphysema, the air sacs in your lungs are destroyed. In chronic bronchitis, the lining of the tubes of the lungs becomes inflamed. Over time, smokers are at increased risk of developing these forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Long-term smokers are also at increased risk of lung cancer. Withdrawal from tobacco products can cause temporary congestion and respiratory pain as your lungs begin to clear out. Children whose parents smoke are more prone to coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks than children whose parents don’t. They also tend to have more ear infections. Children of smokers have higher rates of pneumonia and bronchitis. There are many more negative health effects of smoking and all these put the live of an individual in danger.  People should make good choices.

Lamin Jatta,



RE: ‘Back Way’ boys return after another failed attempt


Dear editor,

It is expedient to react to your publication yesterday about the two boys, ages 9 and 14 who recently returned home after failing for the second time to illegally travel to Italy. According to the publication, the primary school-going children were among three young people caught on their initial attempt to embark on the perilous journey. Let me note that your daily has been closely following up on developments on these very young people. This is how I came to know about the ‘Back Way’ boys.  

No doubt, there is apparent belief that Europe is the only option for people of the developing world. But how these children came to know the idea still baffles me a lot. No doubt, The Gambia has its own share of challenges as a developing country but the fact that most of our young people want to leave the country is indeed worrisome.  But I should also say that it is even more worrisome when children as young as nine years old are embarking on such a journey. It makes it prudent for the government to do more in terms of fine-tuning strategies to end illegal migration. Parents should also stop advising their children to embark on the illegal route. 

Fatoumatta Singhateh,



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