To Smoke Or Not To Smoke?

April 6, 2012 § 5 Comments

I am happy to say that I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life.

Not first hand, anyways. Throughout high school, I had friends who smoked, and I spent time with them in their cloudy cars because my tolerance for cigarette smoke was pretty high at the time. I began going to club shows at the age of 15 or 16 and in 1997, it was still perfectly acceptable to smoke in bars. I’d come home enveloped in other people’s cigarettes. I’d have to leave my jacket hanging outside of the closet to air out and wouldn’t even think about wearing those jeans again without washing them. By the time the concert was over, my contact lenses would be glued to my eyeballs, the smoke sucking all moisture from my eyes.

Since then, laws have been changed. It’s no longer legal to smoke indoors in most cities in North America. Most restaurants don’t even allow smoking on patios where there’s an awning. I have still never smoked a cigarette (why would I start if I didn’t succumb in high school or college?) and my tolerance for smoke has gone way down. I have a hard time even walking behind people on the street who are smoking. Recently, someone has moved onto my building’s floor who appears to be a chain smoker on the weekends and I absolutely HATE IT. It actually enrages me because this toxic and stinky substance drifts into my space where I live and work, and there’s nothing I can do about it. And what happens when we have a kid? I have to worry about this person’s lifestyle choice affecting my baby’s new lungs? I don’t mean to gang up on smokers, but it just doesn’t seem fair in a big city like New York, where we all live on top of each other, to have to worry about this.

This is my personal take on smoking, brought on by an article I recently read, written by the husband of a smoker, asking people to give these poor addicted folk a break. When I read it, I felt no pity. I’m curious if you would.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this controversial topic. Are you a smoker or a nonsmoker? Have you ever smoked? Why did you or didn’t you choose to quit smoking? What is it about cigarettes that draws you to them? Are you really just trying to look cool or beautiful like Betty Draper?

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§ 5 Responses to To Smoke Or Not To Smoke?

  • I’m a lifelong smoker. Since about 14 years old. I smoke in my apartment, but I smoke maybe a couple of cigarettes a week in there so I’m not rocking nicotine yellow walls.

    I hated when they stopped allowing you to smoke in bars. Smoking and drinking go hand in hand for me. But I have to admit, I liked not having to smell like an ashtray when I went home due to bathing in it all night…

    That said, I try to be considerate to people who don’t smoke – to a point. I don’t smoke if there are kids right there, but I see no problem with me smoking in a public park if there aren’t children right there with me. If I’m walking down the block smoking a cigarette, the moment of me passing by and you briefly smelling it is not going to give you cancer on the spot.

    I’ve never quit because I smoke very little. About a pack a week – sometimes less. I enjoy it and considering 80% of the dead people in my family died of one form or another of cancer, I expect it’s going to be the way I go anyway, so why not enjoy what I like.

    I could go on and on about the rights of smokers. I even belonged to the National Smoker’s Alliance back in the 90’s. I think it might be the only subject that gets riled up, “politically” speaking.

  • Anna says:

    I never smoked in high school. A couple of semi-friends would always hang out on the stoop across the street and smoke, every morning – i never saw the appeal. I went away to college, started going out a lot more – was surrounded by smoke (this was already post-indoor smoking ban) almost every night. And it was fun. Like let’s leave this crowded bar/party and go out side for a cig break. It was social, casual, fun. I still didn’t smoke. I actually only started the winter break after first semester freshman yr. I came back home and genuinely missed the second-hand smoke. That’s when I bought my first pack. Ever since then I’ve been a pretty steady 5 – 7 cigarettes a day smoker. Sometimes 2 a day. Really never ever more than half a pack a day – can’t even fathom how I would have the time to do that?! In any case, I hate smoking inside – I never do in my apartment except for once – it was sleeting outside. Regretted it as soon as I was done and the smell still lingered. That being said, I think outdoor areas at bars and restaurants should allow smoking. Okay, well in a dream world – people would be conscientious and just because it’s allowed doesn’t mean you’d blow smoke in someone’s face as they’re trying to eat their brunch 5 feet away from you. I’m just more annoyed that there are all these rules – the latest, beach/park ban being absolutely unreasonable. The no smoking inside bars/clubs – I could get behind. Sometimes it’d be nice to light up when I’m drinking without having to put my coat on, making sure i have a safe place to leave my drink, etc – but like I said, I’m not a fan of indoor smoking anyway. More so than the beach/park smoking ban – it’s these absolutely self-righteous anti-smokers that piss me off. I just can’t sympathize with their whining because you know what, you dont like smoking – but certain parts of my lifestyle also don’t align with the majority yet I still have to suck it up. The two most obvious being cars and meat. I dont drive a car, I dont even ride in cars that often.. why do i have to walk through the streets and breathe in all those exhaust fumes? Why do I have to walk by those gross burning meat carts / kebab stands that you can smell a block away that make me want to vomit on the spot? Because we all live in NYC – and we deal with it. I have vices, you have vices – and no one really knows how irritating they are to other people. So instead of taking sides and passing this widespread bans/laws – I think the focus should moreso be on – be reasonable. be conscientious. generally don’t be a dick and just relax. Sorry that was so long, I didn’t think I had so much to say on the topic? Hope that provided some insight into the mind of this smoker :) But yeah, I am sorry you have to deal with smelling it in your home. That really sucks just because its your home – where you’re supposed to control the environment and have as a safe haven. Have you tried talking to the neighbor? Maybe they legitimately don’t realize it’s wafting over?

    • Christina says:

      Hi Anna!

      Thanks for your views – I love that you had so much more to say than you thought!

      I agree that smokers should be able to smoke where they want outside, just please don’t do it inside! I actually can’t tell which apartment the smoke is coming from because when they do smoke, it fills the whole hallway and everything stinks! Ugh. And the divide between smokers and nonsmokers continues!

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