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Smoking was damaging my health: Saif

The Bollywood actor, who was hospitalised due to severe chest pain earlier this year, says that it was necessary for him to quit smoking.
By Subhash K. Jha | IANS, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 30, 2007 06:38 PM IST

Saif Ali Khan, who was rushed to hospital in February after he complained of chest pain, has sent off a letter to all his producers saying that he is fully recovered but will not work on Sundays anymore.

"I'm hundred percent fine. But strictly forbidden from smoking, and even if I wasn't, I'm smart enough to know smoking is damaging my health," Saif told IANS.

Saif dismisses as "absolute rubbish" the rumour that he has started smoking again.

"Am I crazy to start after I've quit? See, the first three weeks is really tough for anyone who wants to quit. Once you get over that phase, you're home and free. Luckily, I was in hospital and under medication for those three weeks. By the time I came out of the hospital the addiction was over."

Saif did suffer the usual withdrawal symptoms, like the trembling of the hands, in the hospital.

"But it wasn't that bad either. The real ordeal starts now. When I'm in a bar watching friends smoke, the urge is bound to hit me. I wouldn't call quitting smoking a sacrifice. It was a necessity.

"I've been in hospital and I had a very strong motivation to give up smoking. Either I quit, or I'll fall ill again. I almost had a heart attack because of my smoking. Other people have probably just heard about how bad smoking is. I know."

He pauses to think about what he has gone through.

"Smoking adds to the chances of your falling sick. It's like adding a bottle of whiskey to fast driving. That's what my cardiologist compares smoking to."

At the moment, Saif's cardiologist is almost a divine figure in his life.

"I wasn't afraid when I fell ill. I've always had a fatalistic attitude to life... never store it up, because you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. I want to enjoy the day. It might be all over tomorrow. Anything can happen at any time.

"If you look around you, you're bound to be petrified by what you see and hear. I mean, some kid falls out of the window and I say, 'Thank god mine are safe.' Every day that passes without something awful happening to me and my family, is a blessing."

Saif does worry about his kids and their future, more now than before.

"I do spend more concentrated and focused time with my children after my illness. That was possible because I've been at home. But look, it's a beautiful world. And most people are nice to me.

"Unless I'm stupid, or expect too much and mess it up, there's nothing for me to feel scared about. I want to approach my work and private life with a mixture of confidence and humility. If a relationship doesn't work out, who knows it may work out the next time."

He sighs and takes a deep breath.

"Inshallah, I'm getting good offers. Now I know whom to work with and whom not to... I feel a whole new phase starting. I've started exercising again. I don't want to work too hard. I never have. I don't want to burn myself out."

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