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7 parks and walking trails, have no smoking signs all over the place. Somewhere along the line, the price of cigarettes doubled as well (on a side note, they are still less than half the price as in Canada). Surprisingly, these measures have worked pretty well, and while it is still very common to see people smoking in Gwangju, on a day-to-day basis the rate is far lower than a decade ago. As well, those that do choose to smoke often retreat into “smoker alleys” where they can congregate (and disgustingly spit on the ground) in peace. Specifically, within Gwangju, there have been a number of major policy changes that have impacted people’s ability to smoke, my favorite being the designation of many apartment complexes (more than 60 at the time of writing this) as smoke-free living spaces. From what I can tell you, after living in the full gamut of housing types (officetel, live-in office units, where people smoke in the stairwells, a jutaek beside a road that doubled as a smoking area for a local restaurant, an apartment above a bar, etc.), I can say that living in a smoke-free building is wonderful. Even as a former smoker who completely understands the compulsion to smoke (and to a certain extent supports people’s right to smoke), I get furious when someone so much as lights up in my parking lot. VAPING: NOT A GOOD ALTERNATIVE TO CIGS While the smoking rate nationwide continues to decrease, vaping has become much more popular, and it is easy to find vape shops all over the city. That vaping has ▲ You guessed it, geum-yeon (금연) means “no smoking.” Signs like skyrocketed in popularity is not all that surprising since this are becoming increasingly common in Gwangju. it is marketed under the guise of being more socially acceptable (and healthier) than smoking. But make no Pretty simple stuff. What may actually be more helpful mistake, it is still awful for you. When using one of these is to think about why to quit. The question of why to vape devices, people tend to take huge hits of vaporized quit is a much more powerful motivator, and it is easy nicotine simply because it is a smoother type of smoke. to think up a few reasons why you should stop pumping In many ways, vaping reminds me of smoking shisha tobacco and nicotine into your lungs, but here are a – a practice that is extremely popular in many parts of couple to get you started: If you smoke for a long time, the world but thankfully does not seem to have gained you will almost certainly develop cancer; if you are a much traction in Korea. Whatever the alleged “benefits” smoker, by the time you get into your fifties, you are of vaping are, the fact still remains that it involves filling going to start developing all sorts of health problems; your lungs with toxic smoke. if you are a smoker, you are Big Tobacco’s little tool, and they are laughing at you; smoking smells bad; HOW TO QUIT smoking demonstrates a lack of self-control; smoking I am not going to run through the various methods people is expensive and a waste of money; if you stop smoking, use to quit smoking (they are extremely easy to find), but you will be healthier and happier. You get the picture. it is important to highlight a common misconception about quitting smoking. That misconception is that THE RIGHT TO SMOKE F many people would quit if they only knew how to quit. If cigarettes and vaping devices were to be introduced ebruar The fact of the matter is that quitting is pretty simple today as new products, it is very unlikely that they and can be outlined in two steps: would be approved for sale to the general public. But, 1. Do not put a cigarette in your mouth. that is not the world we live in. People have a right to y 20 smoke, but once they get addicted (and they will), they 2. Do not light that cigarette on fire. 2 do not have a choice to keep smoking. Let me explain: 2 202202.indd 7202202.indd 7 2022-01-24  1:25:122022-01-24  1:25:12

Gwangju News February 2022 #240 - Page 9 Gwangju News February 2022 #240 Page 8 Page 10