Finally freed from ISIS, this man celebrates his freedom by smoking – a lot

A majority of people think smoking is bad for the smoker and others, but it’s hard to not support Mohamed Ahmed Saleh’s smoking habit when you hear his reasons.
Saleh spoke with Rukmini Callimachi, a veteran reporter for the New York Times, in Badoosh, Iraq. As Callimachi got out of the car, Saleh asked her team for a light. Callimachi said she noticed at that point that several people were “wearing” cigarettes.




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1. Yesterday, my team made it to the furthest point I've gone northwest of Mosul to the locality of Badoosh, where we interviewed residents: pic.twitter.com/N6m49qGf1d
2. I noticed that everywhere we went in Badoosh, residents were "wearing" packs of cigarettes, like this gentleman: pic.twitter.com/xFGBLU55up
View image on Twitter

She asked Saleh about it, who told her his his village near Badoosh was liberated from ISIS just 10 days ago. He said ISIS fighters would not allow people to smoke, so cigarettes became a symbol of freedom for them.

3. His name is Mohamed Ahmed Saleh, and he's a cow herder, and he asked my colleague to light his cigarette when we got out of the car: pic.twitter.com/KPUHoseaHi
4. His village near Badoosh was liberated 10 days ago & he launched into a diatribe about IS & how happy he is to be able to smoke again pic.twitter.com/DWELiETHAk
View image on Twitter
A brand called Akhtamar Classic was the only one that could be found in the territory after ISIS took over, and while a packet used to cost 750 dinars ($0.63), under ISIS, “it spiked to 20,000 or $17.” Saleh couldn’t afford that, so he had to pool his money with friends.

8. He couldn't afford $17. So he & 4 friends pooled money to buy 1 pack of 20 cigarettes. Here's how he broke them up 2 make them last:

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article145754364.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article145754364.html#storylink=cpy

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Source: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article145754364.html

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