Today is the Great American Smokeout. Last year, if I recall, I wrote some anti-smoking screed, and someone thought it was terribly mean to smokers (I didn’t think so.)
I decided to write something nice about smokers this year. Well, until my daughter had some particularly bad reactions recently. If someone walks by her with a lit cigarette, she starts hacking uncontrollably. She can control this only a little by holding her breath IF she sees the smoker coming. (From years of living with a smoker, I have learned the ability to block the inside of my nose and breathe through my mouth until the danger passes.)
Her asthma is apparently more severe than mine – she’s missed school this fall because of it. Yes, I recognize that cigarettes are legal, and they are highly addictive and that smokers are an oppressed minority in the US. But I suffer when around even a heavy smoker who isn’t currently smoking, I’ve discovered, and my child suffers even more, so you can guess where my sympathies lie.
So, smokers, I hope you take this opportunity to quit smoking today, if not for yourself, then for me. And my daughter.
Do you know what makes me feel ambivalent? Those e-cigarettes. I’ve been around them only a few times, but they do not bother me physically, which is rather astonishing. They may be doing damage to the smoker, who might be getting a false sense of safety, and I AM concerned about that.