I'm a little ashamed to say that I come from a family of smokers. I don't even care if any of them are reading this, because they know my feelings. Don't misunderstand me, I love them very much and I don't know where I would be without them. I don't know anyone else who would take my calls at ridiculous o'clock at night (or in the morning) when I'm in tears or frustrated and just need to yell. So, I'm in no way ashamed of them because they are pretty great people. I'm just ashamed that they smoke. And here's why.
*grabs the soapbox and hops on up*
Smoking in the most inconsiderate of bad habits. Seriously, no matter how hard you try, you are going to affect someone with your smoking. I honestly don't care what you do to yourself, as long as it doesn't affect me in way that I don't want to be affected (this is, incidentally, how I come about many of my political and personal views, but those are other soapboxes). Let me explain this a little more.
I live in Scotland right? And smoking is a little more socially acceptable here than it is in the States. At least, I see more smokers here but that may be because walking is more of the social norm than in the states. In any case, I come into contact with someone smoking everyday walking into town or walking to campus. And, as much as these people seem to think that smoking outside means that the smoke will just rise up into the atmosphere and disappear which means that no one else will be bothered by it, that's not how it works. The smoke lingers. So, if I'm walking behind someone who is smoking I will inevitably get a good whiff of cigarette smoke. Which, I don't think is fair to me to be honest.
Let's take another example. Like I said, most of my family smokes and a couple of times of the summer my brother and I were in the middle of a conversation inside hiding from the heat when he would want to go outside for a cigarette. Which left me to make the choice, continue the conversation outside in the heat where he would also be smoking or end the conversation there and wait for him to come back inside which could be anywhere from 10-30 minutes. A couple of times I would choose to wait and a couple I would choose to go outside. While I am aware that I was the one to make the choice to go outside where he was smoking, it still put me in the position where I had to make that decision because he wanted to smoke. And my brother tries to be courteous. He goes downwind of me because he knows that I don't like the smell or the feeling or anything. But still, I get a little of it. But then it's MY choice.
And what about my dogs. Smoke is bad for them just as it is bad for us, but they can't do anything about it if someone decides to smoke around them. And they love to be around their people. So even if they decide to go outside the dogs will follow which means that they get some of the smoke which could cause a lot of health problems.
Oh, oh! And what about babies? It makes me the most angry, I mean properly angry, when I see a mother or father smoking around their children. THE MOST ANGRY. It doesn't matter if your leaning out of the car or house window. The smoke still goes around your child and affects their health and well being.
Getting away from all the ways that even if you try to be considerate you really aren't for just a minute, it's unhealthy. Extremely unhealthy. If it were just tobacco leaves, it wouldn't be so bad. But has anyone actually read what are in those things? Someone once told me that breathing in cigarette smoke is just like sitting over a campfire. First of all, if I just sat over a campfire and breathed in the smoke then I would die. Secondly, no it's not. That's just a wrong statement. Campfire smoke doesn't contain rat poisons and tar. Thirdly, when I sit around a campfire I move away from the smoke because I don't like breathing it in. Go figure. If you smoke you are letting those toxins into the world for other people to breathe in even if they don't want it.
My point in all of this is, I respect smokers' right to want to smoke. Really I do. If people want to breathe in toxins which make it more likely to develop lung, throat, and mouth cancer and give them a higher chance of heart disease and high blood pressure then that's their choice. They know the dangers of smoking and if they want to take the risk then that's not my choice. The problem is, that a vast majority of smokers do not respect my right to not want to be exposed to those toxins. Seriously, I once asked a guy if he could please not smoke in the enclosed part of the bus stop because it was getting hard for me to breathe and he said no because it was raining and that I should be more considerate and respect his right to want to smoke. Really? I mean come on! I should not have to stand out in the rain so that I can breathe while YOU smoke. If you have this incredibly unhealthy, bad habit you should respect my right to not want to be exposed to it and you should be the one to stand out in the rain not me. Plus, you're not supposed to smoke in the enclosed bus stop. It's the rules!
If you are walking down the street smoking, even though you are outside, that smoke is still making its way to someone who doesn't want it. And that is disrespectful to them. I have bad asthma which has only gotten worse in this past year and when I walk down the street I don't want to have any more trouble breathing than I already have.
I can respect their right to smoke, but I can't respect their right to smoke while walking down the street right in front of me so that I have to breathe it in. Because they aren't respecting me.
What I'm trying to say is that if you're going to smoke, think about other people and whether or not they want to breathing in that filth. Chances are, there is someone walking around you who doesn't want it so wait to smoke until you are in a designated smoking area. At least then people who don't want to smoke can avoid it. They can't avoid if you're just walking down the street and I think that's pretty rude.
*steps off of soapbox*
I'm not trying to say that everyone should stop smoking. Like I said, it isn't my choice if they want to put that stuff in their bodies. But it should be MY choice if I want those toxins in MY body and it's hard to do that sometimes. And I shouldn't be the one to make compensations for YOUR bad habit. YOU need to be the one to think of other people. If you're going to smoke, try to do it where you aren't affecting anyone else or affecting them very little.