Thursday, January 12, 2012

Smoker's Rights and Responsibilities

I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say, “I have the right to smoke.”  I agree with those who make that statement.  Each of these individuals has the right to smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars.  These things are all perfectly legal and free will is a basic human right.  However, the rest of us have the right to breathe- and breathe clean air.

There are some simple things that can be done by smokers that will allow everyone to have their rights and allow us to coexist in peaceful conditions. 

First of all, smoking near entrances or exits of businesses is inconsiderate, and many times against the policy of the business.  Some businesses will post signs stating that smoking may not be done within a certain distance from the door.  Smokers should really respect this rule and abide by it.  Nonsmokers do not want to walk through smoke, possibly because it stinks or possibly because it causes them to choke.

What smokers may not be aware of is there are a lot of people who have respiratory illnesses that are exacerbated by smoke, many times putting them in the hospital.  Smokers would do well to keep in mind that the next time they light up they may be creating a hazardous situation for someone if they do not respect personal space of other people.  This is not only an annoyance but says something about the character of the smoker who smokes wherever they want because “it is their right”.

Another thing to keep in mind is that more and more hospitals are adopting a no smoking policy.  This means that no one is allowed to smoke anywhere on the hospital grounds, inside or out.  A hospital is where sick people go to get well.  One does not facilitate the goal of the hospital by doing something so hazardous.  It is appropriate to follow the rules of the facility and go elsewhere to smoke.

One thing that drives me bonkers is when a person decides to smoke in his or her car and holds the cigarette out of the window.  If a person does not want the smoke in his or her own general vicinity, why does he or she smoke?  Why does this person insist on forcing the rest of us to breathe their poisonous gas?  Now the smokers are probably thinking I have a lot of nerve saying anything about them smoking in their own cars, but keep one thing in mind.  When I drive up behind a smoker at a stop light the smoke drifts back toward me and into my window.  Or when I walk by a parked car and someone shoves their cigarette out the window and flicks it on the ground, I have to breathe the smoke.  I have asthma and I do not appreciate this one bit.  It would be great if they could keep it to themselves. 

Now that I have all of the smokers seething and hating me… The reason I have asthma is because I used to smoke.  Yes, I used to be one of you.  I am not attacking you personally.  I just feel that as a society we should respect one another.  One thing we are desperately lacking today is a healthy respect for each other. 

So, the next time you light up, I hope you remember these kindly, timely reminders- and please don't throw your butts on the ground. :)

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