Monday, May 21, 2007

A Breath of Fresh Air

I have a bit of a rant on my mind today. I am so incredibly tired of the fact that every time I enter or leave a building I am pummeled by cigarette smoke. Let me first clarify that I am not suggesting that individuals who smoke should not be allowed to do so. Really, I’m not. If a person wishes to engage in smoking, so be it. I would certainly not encourage an individual to *start* smoking, but I am also the last person who will insist that another individual *stop* smoking. I feel that it is not my business to screen another person's habits.

That being said, I cannot stand the fact if I want to take a lunchtime stroll around campus to enjoy the beautiful weather, I must endure quite a few lungfuls of smoke on the journey. I also work near a hospital and people lean on the “no smoking” signs at the doors while they puff away. It’s a hospital for crying out loud. Give the sick people a break already.

Those who wish to play devil’s advocate to my complaint may point out that my waistline is indicative of the fact that my life habits are not exactly the healthiest. Perhaps even going so far as to tell me that the slice of pie I ate the other day was not the best choice. True- I will agree. But I also do not walk up to random individuals on the street and shove a pat of butter into their mouth. I choose to sometimes eat an unhealthy food. But I do not force another individual to join me.

I have friends who smoke. And every one of them will attest to the fact that I have never once told them to stop. But they all stay downwind or simply walk away when they wish to light up. No one makes a big deal of it. Each one respects the needs of the other.

I have no idea how to solve the dilemma. Smokers have already been banned from most office buildings and public places. Many regions do not allow smoking in bars and restaurants. So where else is a smoker to go than outside into the great wide open? I get it. The “allowed” places are limited. But I avoid the bars and clubs that are smoky. I sit in the non-smoking section at restaurants. I do what I can to avoid situations that I know will be smoky. But I can’t avoid walking outside. It seems that there is no good way for everyone to get what they want.

Rant complete.


wavybrains said...

The middle ground: The 25 feet rule. Here, You can't smoke within 25 feet of the hospital entrances--there are ash trays set up further away from the main entrances for employees/visitors. On campus, where I teach, there is also a 25 foot rule--no smoking within 25 feet of entrances. One or two outdoor seating areas is also labeled no smoking. While I still encounter tons of smokers when walking, at least I don't have to wade through it when exiting and entering most buildings.

Anonymous said...

Yah, smoky doorways kill me too. And I'm with you on the bad habits, yes, but not forcing them on other people in any way thing. Unfortunately, I don't have a better solution than to push smokers further away from the doorway.

My parents both smoked and I have a mild form of asthma as a direct result of having to inhale their smoke. Because we lived on an acreage, once I got my drivers license, they insisted on trying to send me to buy cigarettes for them (before the legal age was bumped up here). When I travelled, they tried to get me to bring back duty-free cigarettes (they're crazy expensive here). I always refused to support their habits and got into many serious fights over it, but refused to give any ground on my principles (I wasn't going to support them making themselves sick).

My mother would always say "Just wait, you'll start one day too.". I never did and neither did either of my brothers. I've never bothered to befriend a smoker because I can't stand having to smell cold smoke on another person. Having had that smell on me for 25 years still grosses me out.

Jenn (dish) said...

Ah, yes- the 25 foot rule. They have that to a degree here. In fact, the door that I use to enter and exit my building is a complete non-smoking area. And I still get to walk through a cloud. If no one enforces the rules, they are just words on a wall. (sigh)

My parents both smoked, too. My dad actually told me that if he ever caught me smoking he would make me eat the cigarette. Have never smoked anything.

And as for friends who smoke. I normally end up befriending them before I know their "dirty little secret" which should tell you right off that these are not people who reek of smoke (thankfully). I hate that. And I only keep those friends who are respectful of my non-smoke issues when they choose to light up. (It is also a limited bunch- I can count them all on one hand...)