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Bruce, Caroline

Some Thoughts on Smoking

I'm not sure if I found it amusing, irritating, or both. It was at my
previous place of employment. I'd be standing between the two sets of
doors, waiting for my ride. There'd be a group of smokers standing just
outside the door. One of them would open the door, and say, "Why are you
standing in there? Come out here and enjoy the nice fresh air!" What's a
polite way of saying that any freshness in the air was defiled by the
burning leaves sticking out of her mouth?

I've had many and varied views on smoking in the course of my lifetime.
I used to come down on their side, feeling that they had the right to
injest cancerous agents if they so chose. But over time, my opinion
mellowed, then moved to the other side, and I'm now one of those
anti-freedom people who believe that smoking should be banned
everywhere.

The whole thing was driven home to me again this morning. I'd spent all
night inhaling paint fumes and enjoying the fun and games of the
headache that came with those. Stumbling downstairs to wait for my ride
(I spend a ridiculous amount of my life waiting for rides, don't you
think?), I sat down, only to have someone light up in front of me.

I'm not sure which I oppose more: alcohol or tobacco. I know that people
who maintain control over their drinking do no harm, but I also know
that huge amounts of harm are done by people who don't control their
drinking. I can think of no good whatsoever that comes from smoking.
Native North Americans who hold tobacco as sacred and smoke small
amounts of it ceremoneously may beg to differ on that one, but I am
aware or no health benefits to the smoker, a huge amount of discomfort
to the secondhand smoker, and rapidly-mounting evidence of major health
risks to those same secondhand smokers.

Am I trying to come across as a holier-than-thou Mr. Perfect person
here? No. Far from it. I'm no better than anyone else, though, like
most, I do try to improve myself because there's plenty of room for it.
These are just my thoughts on the habit. After a night of paint fumes
and a morning of tar, kerosene and other carcinagents, I had to write
something.

Oh, and one more thing, to all you non-smokers out there. If you have a
smoker friend who is trying to quit, it is your responsibility to be a
genuine encourager. Your friend is trying to better him- or herself and
is going through an escruciatingly hard time. Sarcasm ("here we go
again, let's see how many hours you last this time"), frustration ("are
you always going to be this grumpy?"), non-supportiveness ("Big deal, so
you're trying to quit"), etc., help no one. I've been guilty of the
sarcasm, at the very least, with my friends trying to quit. If any of
them are reading this, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.

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