Blowing Smoke
Shady hillside in Okaloosa County, FL

Blowing Smoke

Why are you so down on us smokers?

Let me first say that I don't hate smokers. I'm not even really down on smokers. Smoking doesn't make you a terrible person. It doesn't cause you to commit crimes or to do heinous acts.

I'm not going to tell you you shouldn't be allowed to smoke. I'm not going to try to convince you that you shouldn't choose to smoke. I'm not even going to tell you you shouldn't choose to smoke. There are plenty of people saying these things, and I don't like doing what everyone else is.

Instead, I'm simply going to lay out my observations, and you can get whatever from it you choose.

I don't mind if people smoke. I really don't. I just wish that smokers would be more considerate; If you are a considerate smoker, I wish you all the smoking enjoyment you could want and wouldn't try to curb your enjoyment for anything in the world. In fact, I'd fight for your right to indulge in that habit even though it makes me sick, but no matter who you are, I won't defend you in smoking just wherever you jolly well please. You see, most of the smokers I encounter are not considerate smokers, and what is worse, these uncouth people cause the ill will behind the outraged non-smokers' calls for smoking bans. Most of the smokers I see are those inconsiderate clods who choose to smoke in places that are inconvenient or even dangerous to other people. Some examples include: an exterior hallway with poor air circulation, through which other people must travel; upwind of others (it doesn't take more than a moment to test the wind); and the most confusing: outside the science lab, where it might cause an explosion if someone turns on the gas (it is a no-smoking area).

For me, it's not just inconvenient to have to walk through a cloud of smoke; I'm allergic to it. It seems to me that a smoker can smoke somewhere away from heavy-traffic areas, and downwind of others, especially if the others happen to be eating.

The other thing that really bothers me about most smokers is that they create a high proportion of the litter found in many places. Wait! Before you complain, try this: Go to some high-traffic public area, like any place on a college campus where there are benches and trash receptacles, and look at the ground around the area. In most cases, the predominant portion of litter is not candy or gum wrappers; it is cigarette butts.

If you are a considerate smoker (you check the wind, ask those nearby if they mind your smoking there, dispose of your butts properly, and are thoughtful in your choice of a smoking location), I support your right to smoke. If, however, you are an inconsiderate smoker, please think about becoming a considerate smoker. After all, it may not be just someone's comfort at stake. It may be their ability to breathe.

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This page was last updated on 2016.7.14b.