Sekhar works for a reputed Multi National Company located in the IT corridor of a prominent Indian metropolitan city. One day, as usual, he gets fully engrossed in his work, without turning his gaze from his laptop screen. Suddenly his manager summons him to his enclosure and speaks to him for a while. He comes back to his seat looking frustrated and uneasy. He narrates to his teammates who are seated next to him about what exactly happened. It seems that he made a mistake while executing one of his previous tasks and the mistake came back haunting him. His teammates, obviously, are not in a position to help him except sympathizing with him. The visibly upset Sekhar vanished for a while from his seat. Guess where did he go? He went to have a smoke.

As all the other IT company offices, his office is also a tobacco free zone and as such smoking on the premises is strictly prohibited. If he wants to satisfy his urge to smoke, he has to cross the threshold of his office premises. He takes a lift and reaches the ground floor, exits through one of the gates and hits the road, where small time vendors sell cigarettes, pan masala, tea and various brands of mouth fresheners from their makeshift stalls. He buys an overpriced cigarette and lights it by using the flame emitted by a ‘free’ lighter supplied by the vendor.

Smoking is rampant in the IT corridors of the prominent metropolitan cities in India. The number of cigarette vending stalls that appear in front of the plush IT offices and the brisk business the vendors do, reflect the enormity of the smoking habit that is prevalent among techies.

One of the reasons quoted by smokers is work stress and tension. Does smoking really relieve your tension and work related stress? Well, I don’t know as I’m a non-smoker and as such never experienced the so-called stress relieving benefits of smoking.

There are many who say that alcohol also has the capability to relieve stress. I even very well remember reading somewhere that many physicians even prescribe moderate quantities of alcohol to their patients who suffer from stress induced ailments like heart and neurological diseases.

The benefits of indulging in things that are purportedly harmful to health in moderate quantities appear to outweigh the adverse effects. However, when we overdo them they may prove to be harmful and make us vulnerable to various ailments in the long run.

As we are all aware that indulging in the potentially habit forming things like smoking and alcoholism will one day trigger a health crisis and it is highly likely that your physician may one day tell you to stop them if you want to safeguard your health.

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