Monday, 18 April 2011

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It’s been a while in the making, but I am finally going to talk about smoking. I was inspired by this article which enraged me, and reminded me that I’ve been meaning to blog about this topic for some time.

First things first, I am not a smoker. At most I have been a social smoker which lasted a short while in my mid-20s. One night while out clubbing I tried to have a cigarette and felt horribly ill. From that moment on I could no longer stand the thought of having a smoke. I was never much of a smoker anyway, I could only stomach light, menthol ones and preferably slim. If ever I bought a packet I’d share them with everyone so would only have a couple over the course of a big night out. I don’t know why I did it, I just know I randomly picked it up in London and stuck with it for a bit and was glad my body got over it. I never became addicted and in retrospect I’m kind of appalled at myself for ever smoking and hope to god that if  my mum reads this she understand it was just a phase (though she probably knew all about it all along and knew I’d get over it quickly enough).

Now I’ve passed the phase of thinking smoking was cool, I’ve kind of become one of those “smoking is evil, how could you do it to your body” kinds of people. I get completely grossed out when someone’s nasty second-hand smoke wafts into my face and laugh quietly at people who have to huddle in smoking areas to get their daily dose of lung cancer. But I never say this to anyone because if there’s anything I hate more than smoking these days, it’s the people who are overly vocal about how they hate smoking. Bloody self-righteous pricks.

So if I don’t like smoking, but also haste those who hate smoking, where exactly do I stand on the matter? I guess I am more for smoking than against. Yes it is a filthy habit that causes people to die painful deaths. But it’s legal and the people who do it are (in most cases) mature adults who understand the risks and choose to smoke anyway. You know what, who cares? They want to smoke and increase their risk of cancer, then who am I to stop that? Likewise with people who binge drink severely and ruin their livers or the people who refuse to eat healthy food or exercise. They’re all causing massive amount of damage to their bodies but it’s THEIR BODIES. I am glad smoking is banned in public spaces like bars, restaurants and shopping malls but under no circumstance should it ever be banned in your own home. Likewise it shouldn’t be banned in open areas so long as the smoker is not standing near a doorway and no blasting children in the face with their second hand smoke.

We live in a world where terrible things happen every day, so in my opinion smokers need to be cut some slack once in a while. The effects of smoking have been proven, but unlike getting wasted drunk and choking on your own vomit or bashing people in a drunken fury, the effects of smoking aren’t instant and take time to develop. If you quit early enough you can virtually reverse the effects of smoking and continue to live a long and healthy life. Smoking might be addictive but you don’t see people whoring themselves for their next hit of nicotine like they do with illicit drugs. At worst you see hobo’s scabbing cigarette butts of the street or asking you for a smoke if they think you look the type.

I come from a long line of cancer sufferers, which is why I have a negative stance on smoking (though admittedly, of the family members who smoked, none of their cancer was actually caused by smoking, oddly enough). I don’t like it and would be appalled if my kids took it up. I worry about my friends who smoke and consider it a huge time waster in the workplace. But if it’s still legal and can be sold in supermarkets and your local corner store, then why can’t people do it in a way that doesn’t harm non-smokers without fear of being reprimanded for doing something that’s perfectly legal. It seems crazy to me.

What are your thoughts on smoking?


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Cara Westworth
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