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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Femi Kuti - Why I Quit Smoking

You just mentioned that you neither drink nor smoke. Where do you get your kicks?

It is my work. Hard work.

But it may be difficult for people to believe you.

That is their business. I have smoked before and I don‘t deny it. But I have stopped. I stopped smoking for fifteen years. I did it again for two years and finally stopped. I started smoking after my mother died because I was very depressed. I have not done it for a couple of years now. Because of this same argument, I stopped. I don‘t need to smoke to become a great man. Even some people say that I don‘t smoke like my dad because I am not as strong as he was. I will not smoke.

Why the decision?

It is bad for my health. It gives me chest pains, but the main reason is on moral ground. It is because I address a serious and important subject that concerns justice and values and I don‘t want anybody to rubbish me by saying that I am a smoker or that I smoke Indian hemp. If I am fighting social ills and I continue to smoke, people will not take me seriously and I don‘t want that. Even if most members of my band smoke, I have to restrain myself just to combat issues. There are so many social ills that I am fighting against in my music and I cannot afford to allow myself to be embarrassed and dismissed as a hemp smoker.