There are many vices in this country and the world that are both harmful and perfectly legal. One of those vices is the right to smoke. While an individual may have the right to use this harmful and often deadly substance, it has always surprised me at the inability of non-smokers (people who choose not to abuse their body with this substance) to eliminate being harmed by the smoking of others.
I am someone who suffers significant lung issues which can be directly traced back to a constant exposure to secondhand smoke while growing up in a home where a parent smoked. Thankfully, that parent has been smoke free for many years now, but unfortunately they are now dealing with the devastating effects of the many years of their smoking. And, so am I.
I was walking out of my local grocery yesterday, and as I was entering the exit breezeway, another individual was entering and he was SMOKING as he came into the grocery. As I saw the smoke billowing out of his mouth and heading my direction, I stopped dead in my tracks in deadly fear because I am someone who when exposed to smoke of any kind I can (and often do) go into a severe asthma attack. If you’ve never experienced a severe asthma attack, think of an elephant standing in your chest while a vice is steadily squeezing your chest, sides, and back, and you are unable to either inhale or exhale air. The feeling of pain, utter helplessness, and fear dominates your entire being. Thoughts of death run through your brain as you feel your life pass before your eyes in mere seconds!
I have had other public smokers be even more rude. As I walked down a crowded city sidewalk one day, I walked by several women who were smoking with a heavy cloud of smoke surrounding them. To avoid inhaling the smoke I briefly covered my mouth and nose as I approached. The result … one woman stepped in front of me and while blowing smoke directly at my face uttered the expletive “bitch” at me. Needless to say I kept walking without comment or further interaction.
Folks, if you happen to be a smoker who has no plans to quit, please remember that while you have a legal right to destroy your own body, you do not have the legal right to destroy MY body or anyone else’s body. And if you are a parent who has been smoking around your child … STOP!!!
Smoking is an addiction, and one of the toughest ones to kick. If you are a smoker who is desirous to quit, there are many resources available to aid you on your path to recovery.
American Lung Association info:
US Government HHS info: