Would Summit smokers please suck it in?
All right already. Is it possible for the smokers of Summit County to please just quit whining and let it go? You are not going to foul the air anymore. You are not going to gag the rest of us with your obnoxious habit, cause our children to gasp for air or ruin the meal or alcoholic beverage of the people sitting within breathing distance of your nonstop, face-chimney anymore.And please, because the rest of your community members are bored hearing it, stop mewing that somehow it’s your collective constitutional right to ruin other people’s health all for the sake of your habit. I don’t know what’s more irritating, breathing in the secondhand smoke of some loser with a death wish or listening to packs of smokers whimpering about some kind of nonexistent God-given right to smoke tobacco.Did the smoke go directly to smokers’ brains? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say people have the right to smoke. Sorry. Tough. Get over it.
Now don’t get me wrong. It is nothing personal. As a demographic, I’ve always been quite fond of smokers. For the most part, they’ve always been a pretty good bunch of people. Back in college, I even hung out with smokers because it seemed that all the witty, sophisticated, sexy, tough, smart and dangerous women smoked. And being a smart boy myself, I wanted to associate with them.Then when I worked for the airlines – back in the days when smoking was allowed on all flights – I remember the flight attendants fighting to serve the smoking section in the back of the airplane. They did this because everyone knew that as long as the smokers had a drink and a cigarette after takeoff, they were, by and large, happy campers for the rest of the flight.Even when I worked as a blackjack dealer in the casinos in Colorado, I spent all of my free time in the smoking room. I did this because I found the smokers more interesting and exciting to be around while sitting in the nonsmoking lounge was like taking a break in a mausoleum.
But my fondness for smokers doesn’t change the fact that smoking can not only sicken and/or kill the smoker, it can also do it to those around them.I guess it wouldn’t be a big deal if smokers didn’t shove their habit up the noses and down the throats of everyone around them.If they could somehow take a puff and then never breathe out again – kind of like a terminal holding of the breath – it might be OK. But that’s not how it works, and that’s where the problem surfaces.I, of course, have some bad habits of my own – habits I’d like to be rid of but I know I might never overcome. As an example, I love chocolate donuts. And by “love” I mean an obsessive, stalking kind of love where someone gets hurt in the end.
After I’ve eaten my donuts, however, I don’t then gather up the crumbs – as if there are ever any bits leftover – and proceed to ram them down the throats of every man, woman and child in the donut shop. Which is the best analogy I can come up with for a nonsmoker’s view of smoking.In the end, I guess I believe that a habit is fine if it’s kept personal. When it spreads to other people, however, it changes everything.And having been subjected to secondhand smoke in restaurants, bars, parks, at sporting events and at work for years, I say we tell the smokers to snuff it. No smoking now, after 10 p.m. or when the cows come home to roost or sit or whatever.So Summit County smokers quit whining and suck it up – or in – as the case may be. Andrew Gmerek writesa Friday column. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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