I think smoking is disgusting. There is no simple or sugar-coated way to say it. I find it vulgar and utterly repulsive. I know that nicotine is addictive and many smokers would quit if they could. If they need to smoke of course I can’t stop them. But when they smoke in public places could they show more courtesy to those around them?
I recognize that many municipalities have attempted to mitigate the problem of smoking in public places by creating all kinds of legislation over the years. I remember back to the days when I was a kid when smokers had free reign, and then the government stepped in. First there were smoking areas in restaurants and my favourite, the smoking rows at the back of the airplane. If smoking was allowed in rows 28-30 and I was in row 27, was I really separated from the stench of smoke behind me?
Slowly, over time, big “no smoking” signs appeared inside malls, restaurants, movie theatres and on airplanes. Smokers were forced outside to do their dirty act. Then came the “no smoking within 9 meters of any entrance” signs, that are always ignored. For the last couple of years, at least in Toronto, there are also bylaws outlawing smoking in certain outdoor areas like playgrounds and restaurant and bar patios. I believe that is usually observed.
So, smoking has been delegated to the streets of the city, where I cannot escape it. I find it unpleasant to walk behind a smoker, as I seem to inhale more of the fumes than the person holding the cigarette. I often feel helpless when I wait at a traffic light at a busy intersection, waiting to cross with my stroller, and beside me is a smoker, dangling a cigarette.
What a sight it is when I see what looks like a good looking well put together person, on the move down the street, with a cigarette dangling from his mouth? Does he think he looks cool? I think not.
And why do smokers think it is okay, when finished a cigarette, to drop it on the ground, snuff it out with their feet and walk away? The sidewalk is not a trash bin, but somehow many smokers treat it as such.
Are smokers aware how bad they smell? A few weeks ago, while on the subway, a person sat down beside me. Though she was not smoking (something banned on public transit many years ago), she was clearly a heavy smoker. She reeked. It wasn’t just her breath but the scent of cigarette smoke emanated from her body. Lucky for me I had to get off at the next stop. The odour was nauseating.
No one In my close family or circle of friends is a smoker (though some did smoke in the past). I grew up in a smoke-free home and am glad I am raising my children in a society that is doing its best to keep the air clean. For those who do smoke I just ask you to please be courteous of those of us who don’t. And for those who smoke and are trying to quit I wish you luck and hope you succeed. You will be better off.