Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Up in smoke

For any of my readers that smoke, I apologize in advance, because this post will probably offend you. I love you all, but this is something that means a lot to me.

I hate smoking and I think it should be illegal. I am absolutely adamant about this, and it horrifies me that in this day and age, with all our medical knowledge, people are still allowed to walk around and smoke in public.

I know laws have been made; no smoking within a certain number of feet of public building entrances, no smoking in public buildings or workplaces, etc. What angers me is that first of all, these laws are hardly ever enforced, and second of all, these laws are not nearly strict enough.

I see many examples every day that convince me of the need to ban smoking. As Simon and I ate outside at a mall restaurant yesterday, someone smoking in the entrance of the mall caused us to cough as it drifted towards us (right under a "No Smoking" sign, no joke). I once watched a mother walk her child to school while puffing away right next to him. I have to pass no less than three smokers every time I walk to the store for lunch (as I try to be healthy by taking a walk). People congregate in the doorway of my office to smoke on break, especially when it's raining, no matter how many times they've been told not to. I used to work in a dry cleaners where the owner would smoke IN the building (where I was the only non-smoker, no one else cared).

If someone was drinking alcohol in the street, walking past them would not get me drunk or hurt my liver. What they're consuming does not affect me (unless they get behind the wheel of a car). If I walk by someone smoking in the street, I can get cancer. CANCER. Especially if you consider the number of times I am exposed to smoking every day, not just once in a while. I am not going to cross a busy Boston street just to avoid them. I cannot avoid the entrance of my office building. If I tell each and every one of them that it bothers me, I am going to get the reputation of a nagging bitch.

If we can't outlaw it altogether, then limit it to places it absolutely cannot harm or affect anyone else. Private homes (not condos where the vents can lead next door) without children, private clubs where people want to smoke, etc. NOT outside. Not in your car where it comes through my vents when I drive behind you, and then you fling a butt out the window and start a fire. I am sick of feeling sick when I walk past these people. They complain about their rights to smoke, but I want my right to clean air.

My father smoked around me as a child, and I now have asthma. Stairs leave me winded, I cannot run, and I cannot be outside in extremely hot or cold weather. Smoking ruined my body. I want to prevent it from ruining everyone else's before it's too late.


  1. I'm a smoker. I've tried to quit many times, but it isn't exactly an easy chore. I had a friend who died of lung cancer a few years ago. He'd given up HEROIN in his younger days, but still couldn't stop smoking cigarettes, even while on oxygen, and dying.

    That said, I agree with you on many points. Most of the things smokers do is just disrespectful. It smells bad if you're not the one smoking, and we smokers should be respectful of others.

    But I still haven't seen any conclusive evidence that secondhand smoke causes cancer. Or asthma. The current asthma epidemic would have started a *lot* sooner if that was the case.

  2. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Tobacco/ETS

    "Does secondhand smoke contain harmful chemicals?

    "Yes. Of the more than 4,000 chemicals that have been identified in secondhand tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful, and 50 of these are known to cause cancer.

    "Does exposure to secondhand smoke cause cancer?

    "Yes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), the U.S. Surgeon General, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have classified secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent)."

  3. Also:

    "Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, and more severe asthma. Being exposed to secondhand smoke slows the growth of children’s lungs and can cause them to cough, wheeze, and feel breathless."