Cancer patient turns cigarette snatcher in Dubai

Abraham Samuel has taken it upon himself to ‘convert’ people around him to give up smoking and you can’t say no to him

  • Uphill battle: Abraham Samuel’s wife Sizy show the marks of intravenous chemotherapy treatment that Samuel is Image Credit: XPRESS/Francois Nel
  • No you won’t: But the man ignores Samuel’s caution. Nothing could come in between him and his daily nicotine fImage Credit: XPRESS/Francois Nel
  • I won’t let you do it: Samuel doesn’t take no for an answer and snatches the cigarette from the startled man’sImage Credit: XPRESS/Francois Nel
  • Image Credit:

DUBAI: Indian expatriate Abraham Samuel is a one-man anti-tobacco campaigner. Suffering from advanced lung cancer, he should know the ill effects of smoking.

Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, XPRESS interviewed this campaigner who leaves no stone unturned in warning people about the perils of smoking.

“I don’t know how much time I have left in this world, but I will do as much as I can to tell people to give up smoking. I have stage IV lung cancer and am suffering everyday. For the last two months I have barely been able to move or walk around; I am coughing continuously and often go breathless while talking. There is a lesson that people can learn from me to give up smoking before it starts threatening their life,” said the 53-year-old.

‘Learn from me’

After smoking two packets a day for 35 years, Samuel was diagnosed with stage three cancer in 2010. Since then, Samuel’s condition has steadily deteriorated. “I have undergone many chemotherapy sessions, but it does not seem to be working. If people can see me and learn from me, it will prevent them from making the mistake I did.”

Today, Samuel barely manages to speak a couple of sentences before he starts panting. Living on the third floor of a building that has no lift, Samuel struggles to leave his flat. He hasn’t been to work in two months.

He said he takes every little opportunity – from confronting total strangers in public places to pleading with his friends – to urge people to quit. “When I see someone smoking, I simply walk up to them and ask them to give it up. People don’t always like it, but I don’t stop myself. Sometime I even open my shirt and show them my radiation marks – so they understand the severity of my condition.”

Samuel’s efforts has shown some results. His friend M.P. Chandy quit smoking around six months ago after Samuel educated him on the daily ordeals he is facing with cancer. “I used to smoke over a packet of cigarette a day. But Samuel’s physical distress because of the cancer really scared me. He can barely speak now without being breathless. Overnight, I took the decision to stop smoking and I have only Samuel to thank for it.”

Another benefactor of Samuel’s advice is his cousin, Mark Markose. From smoking one and a half packets a day, he has now given up the habit. “We had two family cases of lung cancer and I just decided to heed Samuel’s advice. Not many people take the trouble of changing the world around them, but Samuel is one such person. It’s amazing how selflessly he walks up to strangers and tells them to give up smoking. Even if one of them thinks about his advice seriously, his effort will have served the purpose,” said Markose.

Samuel is employed in a stationary company, earning just Dh3,500 a month. He lives with his wife and two daughters aged 22 and 19 in Dubai. “For the last two months, I have not been to work. My sponsor has been kind to me and let me stay home till I get better. My wife works for a private company and earns around Dh5,000 a month. She is the main bread-winner currently. It’s very tough for us as my daughter is in her second year of graduation. People must seriously consider giving up smoking if they are addicted as it can be a life saver.”

Your comments

  • Anonymous

    30-May-2013 13:21

    Pls can I have contact no. of this person...maybe he can help me witha real life situation for someone dear who really needs to see the adverse effects of smoking through this person's eye... Please...Please and Please....

  • Indu Manoj

    30-May-2013 13:15

    He will definetely get well soon as he has all the good wishes from the people who have stopped smoking.I wish him fast recovery.

  • jossy ninan

    30-May-2013 13:03

    hi Abraham, please try to get soursop a fruit which is available dubai i think. i muscat we are getting from Khimjis, and coming from Srilanka. if you have some friends you can ask them to get it. it is very effective. with prayers

  • prabha

    30-May-2013 12:50

    friends, believe me; it thrills but, it KILLS!

  • Syed Mustafeez

    30-May-2013 12:14

    After reading the real story about this, I decided and I through my cigarette packet, inshallha I will try to not buy again and will not smoke again, Allha gave us a healthy body why we should damage our self, may Allah give me power to stop.

  • Manu Mark Imam

    30-May-2013 11:53

    I used to smoke about forty cigarettes per day when in the 20s. Until one day, I started coughing so bad, my rib cage hurt. I quit smoking on the spot and haven't touched it for years. Who will give up smoking without the REAL fear of its effect? Most people think that it wont happen to them.until it is too late. When cancer strikes, it isinvariably too late. IS SMOKING WORTH IT? QUIT NOW AND LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFE.

  • Ramani Rajan

    30-May-2013 11:33

    As the saying goes 'better late than never' you are tryingyour best to not only with your smoking habit but also with others. Mr. Samuel to know that he is definitely doing his part in making an impact on those who want to quit smoking and it is for sure that even after he is gone from this world, he will leave a mark on those who can take hisadvice seriously and quit smoking habit once & for all. Well done Mr.Samuel - God bless you.

  • Mala

    30-May-2013 10:41

    Great Job, Mr. Samuel. In spite of your suffering and pain,some moments to educate people on ill-effects of smoking. Every one knows smoking kills, yet they take it up. Hope people pay heed to your words, and quitsmoking. May God ease your pain..

  • Hamad

    30-May-2013 10:41

    Living a lavish life we all forget that we actually need to take care of our body and beware of the dangers of smoking. I know it is hard but we never try or even if we try we don't quit. After reading this article I'll seriously consider quitting. I hope this time I try and succeed.May God bless this man with a healthy life.....

  • dm

    30-May-2013 10:17

    my brother has a smoking habit and now it is affecting him as we understand.. we would like to speak or meet this gentleman Mr. Samuel, so that he can try to convince my brother to quit smoking.. is there any way that we can get in touch with him.. please, please.. my sincererequest..

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Pls can I have contact no. of this person...maybe he can help me witha real life situation for someone dear who really needs to see the adverse effects of smoking through this person's eye... Please...Please and Please....


30 May 2013 13:32jump to comments