PARENTS ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO SMOKE
So when was the first time you tried smoking. Were you a kid? A teen? Did you need a fix? Or did you just want to fit in? Maybe you wanted to see what the cool kids were doing and why? Or maybe you are someone who has never smoked a cigarette in your life. Did your town or city ever promote or encourage smoking? Promote the youth in your town to smoke? So those are odd questions, right? Usually, it’s the other way around. But in the case of the village of Vale do Salgueiro, in Portugal, they celebrate a Christian holiday with a bit of a twist: music, wine, a parade and giving children cigarettes to smoke. Yes, they hand cigarettes to their kids and tell them to smoke them.
CIGARETTE TRADITION OF THE EPIPHANY
In the northern village in Portugal, the Epiphany celebration has a tradition of encouraging children as young as five years old to smoke. But this particular tradition has been going on for many years and no one knows why it exists. It’s just part of the party. Each child smokes up to three packs of cigarettes during the celebration. But this is nothing unusual to the people of this town. And the people from this area are the only ones who deeply understand the roots of the tradition. But they’re not really able to articulate it! Nowhere else in Portugal do they encourage such traditions.
ISOLATION NEEDS SMOKE
The author Jose Ribeirinha, who has studied the traditions from this village, believes that the people of Vale do Salgueiro are in a remote location geographically. He believes they have likely held on to much older traditions due to the geographic isolation. But no one really knows where the handing your kids cigarettes came from.
HIGHEST RATES OF ADULT SMOKERS IN THIS VILLAGE IN PORTUGAL
So Vale do Salgueiro parents hand out cigarettes to their children. Their kids react with excitement and exhilaration, as if it’s candy. But most townsfolk do not think it can do much harm to the children. Mostly because the children don’t normally inhale. But how does anyone know this? Regardless, the tradition will continue as the village has no plans to end this tradition. But it’s worth noting that this remote village has the highest incidence of adult smokers in all of Portugal. Go figure.