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Quit smoking, pleads Aamir Khan
By Prasun Sonwalkar, IANS
Nothing is more dangerous than cigarette smoking, says film star Aamir Khan.
Aamir describes his struggle to quit smoking in a rare interview uploaded in the pioneering London-based oral history website www.historytalking.com. The interview has been made available on the site on the occasion of 'No Smoking Day' on Wednesday. In the candid interview with website editor Vijay Rana, Aamir admitted he found it difficult to quit smoking despite sincere efforts.
Aamir said he hailed from a conservative family in which his parents, particularly his Ammi, were strictly against smoking.
"I never smoked while in school or college. I never touched a cigarette until I was 23 or 24."
On beginning his career in films, he said he had to smoke while acting for one his films and then found that he could never completely give it up.
"In the last 10 years I have made may attempts to quit smoking. Sometimes I was able to quit for more than two years and then I had to start again because of the demand of the roles," he said.
"I started smoking when I was doing 'Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahin' and 'Aatank hi Aatank'. I didn't know about smoking; I had to learn it and I was very confident that I would never develop a habit for it.
"On the first day I coughed and felt sick and I thought I should never smoke in future. My friends warned that I would get addicted. I confidently replied no, I will not."
Aamir, a keen player of squash, admitted that cigarette smoking had affected his health and reduced his stamina.
"When I smoke I cannot play squash for more than 15 minutes. I find it difficult to breathe. And two weeks after quitting when I go to play squash I can play up to an hour. Within two weeks I regain my full stamina.
"When I smoke I find every thing difficult, whether I am doing a fight sequence or a dance item. I get tired very quickly. And when I don't, I can work longer and harder and sometimes giving 25 or 30 takes of a particular shot.
"When I smoke, I generally become lethargic. I am possessed with a kind of laziness, I wake up late and my day doesn't begin properly. And when I am not smoking, my day begins nicely. My mind and body remain alert and fit."
Khan believes that today's younger generation is very conscious about their health and fitness.
He ridiculed those who believe that smoking was 'cool'.
"It's a very silly thing to say. No smoker will say that. Most smokers will admit that smoking is addictive and very difficult to give up. No smoker will say that smoking is a good thing."
Aamir disclosed that he received several offers to advertise cigarette, tobacco, gutka and alcohol.
"I always refused them because I do not want to mislead my fans, who have given me so much of affection.
"When it comes to films it depends upon the director. I want people to think that I am just doing a role. I would like to advise my fans if they see me smoking in a film they should not be impressed and they should realise that I am just doing a role. Nothing is more dangerous than cigarette smoking", he said.