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No Smoking?

An anti-anti-smoking rant.

I am not sure when it happened, but I have a good idea how it happened. All of a sudden, out of the blue, I noticed something. Out of nowhere I became a second class citizen. Not because of race, sex or creed. There is no heritage issue, nor is it about financial status, though in a way politics does play a part.

Before I go any further I feel it’s only fair to give you a little personal background. I do not do any form of recreational drugs. I do not drink alcohol. I am out of shape. (Though I maintain that round is a shape!) I am ravenous for red meat, and I am currently weaning myself from a caffeine addiction that may take a twelve step program. Also, I love to drive. Yet none of these seem to be an issue.

I am a smoker. Those little paper wrapped plants have made me an outcast in society. Even if they are not on fire, they make me some sort of social pariah. Someone who should be yelled at and shamed in front of people, I am made to feel as if I am somewhere below Hitler yet just above Chuck Manson. I am the killer of children and small animals.

Here is my response to that…

Bite me! You hypocritical (Oops, can’t use those words.)

Sorry. My bad. That was the nicotine writing, maybe the caffeine withdrawal. I am okay now.

But here is the thing, smokers have been relegated to the last refuge for smokers. Outside. What were the politicians thinking? There “excuse” for outlawing smoking inside was that we as smokers are a burden on the healthcare system. I call bull pucky! Here is why. If I am a smoker that apparently is already at risk for every disease ever, are you sure it will be more easy for us not to get sick if you make us go out in 10 below weather?

According to State of Minnesota, in 2008, there were 500 fatalities due to drunk driving. There were zero fatalities due to anyone driving while smoking too many cigarettes before they got behind the wheel.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… bad analogy. I refer you to the earlier “Bite me!” statement.

Here is the hypocritical part. Our government makes millions off of tobacco, between the taxes, the lawsuits, and everything else. Yet they spearhead the campaign to “protect” us from ourselves. That to me is like a crack dealer lecturing me that drugs are bad, but here’s your crack. That’ll be such and such amount. Cash please.

A company can now fire you, or refuse to hire you if you are a smoker. Yet if you show up drunk, they have to get you help. If you are stoned? Can’t fire them for that. Got to get them help. Addicted to sex? Can’t fire them! (Though feel free to
pass their phone number over to me.)

I can see the issue though. I am not telling people to smoke (or chew tobacco.) It is not a good habit. It is a harmful habit, no doubt. But then again so are a lot of habits. I am not an advocate for smoking. What I am an advocate of is leave me
the heck alone!

The government can’t make it illegal. We tried that once, and we all know how that turned out. So they leave it up to society to put the pressure on. We feed the propaganda machine. We know from history how well that works too. (Just an FYI trivia question for you, does anyone know the first government body to outlaw smoking? See answer at the end.)

Plus, if we made it illegal, what comes next? Automobiles? They spew out dangerous gasses. Electricity? So does that. Fire? Sky diving? It seems fatty foods is next. Twinkies will go up to 20 bucks a cake! (And yes, I would on occasion drop 20 bucks on an illegal Twinkie! Seems I will need another twelve steps.)

There is a commercial out there about a young mother with a child who has asthma, who states not to be afraid of telling people not to smoke around her kids. First off, how about asking us nicely. Chances are good, as a smoker, we would put it out. Of course, where in the world a kid would be that allowed smoking is beyond me. Or more to the point, how about you move your kid out of my way. I am pretty sure if I lit a smoke in my home in Richfield, the effect will be pretty darn low if you are in Burnsville. Just saying.

So if you happen to pass me while I am smoking, you save the nasty looks for someone who truly deserves it. Like a pedophile or a politician.

(Trivia Answer: That would be the Nazi's.)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Haines May 02, 2012 at 03:14 PM
My pet peeves with smokers (and yes I realize that not ALL smokers do this but a majority are guilty of at least one): 1.) Smoking where smoking is not allowed (light rail platforms and close to entrances to buildings when it's posted to smoke 25 feet away) and 2.) Not properly disposing of their litter. I realize that most cars don't have ashtrays anymore, but your answer is to flick your butt out the window onto the road or dry grass on the shoulder? Now, I've met responsible smokers who extinguish and store their butts until they find a garbage can, and i've also met people who will throw their butt onto the sidewalk in front of a store when there was an ashtray an arms reach away. Seems that the former people are in shorter supply than the latter. Smoke where it is allowed so I can avoid it, don't litter, and we'll get along just fine. :) @ Laura, all rights have limits. And your "right" cannot infringe on someone else's "right". Not sure something is a "right" just because it's not illegal though. Permitted or allowed maybe, but a right?
Laura May 03, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I guess I was making a point that we all have freedom of choice, not necessarily a freedom-to-do-whatever-we-want. I completely agree with you, as smokers, we should abide by the law, which includes no littering (for the amount of plastic bottles thrown away every day, all you need to do it keep one in your car to put your butts in if you don't have an ashtray) and don't smoke near entrances or in public places that state that there's no smoking allowed. I, unfortunately, can't do anything about rude smokers, I wish I could, though. I think the biggest problem, as Kevin was saying in his column, is that no matter what we do, even if we obey every law that comes with smoking, we are constantly looked down upon as second class citizens, made out to be these horrible people who are killing everyone in our path. Go sit at a bar some Friday or Saturday (or Tuesday, really, the day doesn't matter) and just sit by the door and let me know how many of those people are actually sober enough to drive when they leave for the night. When they get in their cars, they are taking the chance of not only killing themselves, but multiple people as well when they get on the road. And yes, I think that it's a fair comparison, both nicotine and alcohol are addictive, both can be harmful to your health and both affect more than just the person do it. For the amount of people who drink (way more than those who smoke) why don't we see more "drinking kills" commercials?
Kevin Parks May 04, 2012 at 05:28 AM
You are correct Laura, that was exacty what I was going for. Thank you.
Annie S. May 07, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Damn near everyone smoked 60 years ago, what's the rate of lung cancer among those 60 years of age and older? I mean, if they all died from lung cancer already - why are we worried about the baby boomers sucking social security dry? Basically, one day, the surgeon general, decided to plant a seed. That seed has grown into one of, if not the grandest scale example of hypocritical propaganda this country has ever known. I don't particularly care for people bringing their children into an establishment that serves alcohol. I also don't particularly care to see the parents caring for those children are drinking while they're there. However, as long as those children aren't being served alcohol, it's completely legal. If I was a "smaller" person, I would scold these "parents" to their faces instead of under my breath. As long as smoking is legal, and as long as the government is more than happy to tax tobacco products, I think non-smoking people can at least put a cork in it. Even if I wasn't a smoker, I'd like to think people haven't fought and died in nearly 250 years of war to protect our freedom - only to have my rights (and character) squashed by intolerant hypocrites on a daily basis.

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