Monday, June 08, 2009

Why yes I'd love cancer today - thank you!

Last week I lost an online friend because she, a smoker, didn't like what I had to say about smoking.

She tweeted "All I want to do is smoke lately. I could stand outside and chain smoke right now, I swear. No lectures please."

I replied - "we only lecture you because we love you - and because smoking is farking disgusting! =)"

She went on to tell me that my statement counted as a lecture and I could love her and refrain from lecturing - the same way another tweeter had done. I answered that I guess it was a good thing I wasn't that other tweeter then wasn't it - all with a smile and good natured intentions. Apparently she didn't think so because after a few more tweets back and forth she told me my opinion wasn't appreciated.

I let it go with her but tweeted a few statements about how I really just didn't understand why anyone would smoke - citing some of the most foul aspects of the habit. I even made sure to let her know that my statements were not directed at her, rather at my inability to understand smokers in general. She called me passive aggressive, self-righteous and said she didn't have any desire to talk to me further.

If you know anything about me, then you know that passive is not a word likely to be used when describing me. I've never shied from speaking my mind or expressing my feelings to anyone about anything. If I have a problem or issue then I'm much more likely to address it head on then whine about it and do nothing - which is a characteristic of someone who is passive-aggressive.

There are those in my family might agree with the self-righteous part, but I honestly do not think I as a person am better than anyone else. I do feel that I, for the most part, make better choices than some. But it's not because I'm smarter, or better than anyone. It's because I've made my wrong choices years ago and learned from them. I simply do my best to live a clean life and I choose to not participate in certain activities others do and not to surround myself with people who do things I don't.

If you're not ok with being nude, you're not going to hang out at a nudist colony. If you don't like rap music you're not going to go to a club that only plays rap. I don't smoke, drink or do drugs so I don't hang around with people who do those things. Yet more often than not, I find those people to be the ones pointing fingers and calling me names for separating myself from them.

Why is that people who do things that are bad for them are so quick to judge those who don't and call it ok, but when the suggestion is made that what they're doing isn't in their best interest it's being judgmental and self-righteous?

A therapist once told me that people who live lives doing things that are bad for themselves don't like hanging around people who don't because it makes them feel guilty. Being around a person who is perfectly happy not drinking, smoking or what have you emphasises to people who do those things that they are making less than ideal choices and they don't like it.

I have never, even one time smoked a cigarette. I have never been drunk. I have never tried any type of drug what-so-ever. I am also the ONLY person in my immediate and mostly extended family who can make any and/or all of those statements.

Growing up a child of smokers had a strong and lasting effect on me that didn't seem to carry over to my brother and sister. They both smoke. I remember as a young girl wishing for new clothes, or to be able to go to events my friends did but not being able to because we didn't have the money. I wasn't able to get a letter jacket, or a class ring, or go to prom because there wasn't money for those things, yet somehow my mom managed to afford 2 cartons of cigarettes a week and my dad two 5-packs of skoal.
~Each day 3,000 children smoke their first cigarette.

~At least 3 million adolescents are smokers.

~Tobacco use primarily begins in early adolescence, typically by age 16.

~Almost all first use occurs before high school graduation.

~20 percent of American teens smoke.

~Roughly 6 million teens in the US today smoke despite the knowledge that it is addictive and leads to disease.

~Of the 3,000 teens who started smoking today, nearly 1,000 will eventually die as a result from smoking.

Now the gal above doesn't have children so she might say her habit isn't hurting anyone. Chain smoking doesn't take away from anything or anyone in her life. I say she's wrong. Science and medicine agree.
~3,000 nonsmoking adults die of diseases caused by exposure to second hand smoke every year.

~Secondhand smoke causes coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort and reduced lung function in nonsmokers.

~Some 2 to 5 million US children suffer from asthma; of these, about 20 percent experience more asthma attacks and more severe attacks than their fellow young asthmatics, due to secondhand smoke.

~Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, including carbon monoxide ( which poisons the human body), ammonia, formaldehyde, and other poisons. 4 of the chemicals – benzene, 2-naphthylamine, 4-aminobiphenyl, and polonium-210 are classified by the EPA as known carcinogens—cancer causing agents.

~The EPA has classified secondhand smoke as a carcinogen since 1992.

~A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke were 25 percent more likely to have coronary heart diseases compared to nonsmokers not exposed to smoke.
Smoking, like alcoholism and drug addiction is a horribly selfish habit. If you want to spend all your money on toxins and spend your time smoking it up in your own home that's one thing. But when you take your habit outside, where people who have no desire to fill their lungs with tar are, it's another.

Since most restaurants and business have adopted a smoke-free policy, smokers have had to take their habit outdoors. Now they crowd around the doorways creating a cloud of toxins that non-smokers have to walk through to get in.

They take extra breaks at work that non-smokers do not get leaving others to fill in and cover the load while they're outside killing themselves and the planet.

They pollute the air at ball-games and events with no regard or care that the person next to them might not want to go home smelling like an ashtray.

And one of my biggest pet peeves is the litter. If I had a nickle for every cigarette butt I saw on the side of the road and littering the grassy medians I could retire now a rich woman.

When you participate in an action that causes you to be oblivious to the health and well-being of others it is a problem. When you know that your habit harms others and you choose to do it anyway - it's reprehensible.

So yea I'm going to tell you that smoking is bad. I'm going to point out that it stains your teeth and fingers, that it makes your hair and clothes stink. I'm going to remind you that you're not only killing yourself but those around you. And if that makes me self-righteous or passive aggressive then I'm ok with that.

Because this is my planet too damn it. This is my air, and my streets and my restaurant that I'm having dinner at with my boyfriend. And we shouldn't have to walk through your cloud of smoke or see the trash of your habit in our park because you're to selfish to care about the people you're hurting.

3 People who coughed on a furball:

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! I totally agree with EVERYTHINGS you said. I too have never smoked, drank or tried drugs and never plan on it.

If a person wants to stop being your twitter friend b/c of your opinion on smoking, then you don't need her.

Way to go!

Anonymous said...

You are spot on! My aunt died slowly and painfully from lung cancer even though she had never smoked a day in her life. Her husband was a smoker (who had already drank himself to death earlier). It affects everyone around you. There are so many places in Mobile where you can't enjoy a decent meal because of the smoking section (which is stupid you smell it all over the building). I hate it, and I refuse to sit and be quite about it.

lawless said...

Well, yay! We can still be Twitter friends because, I too, do none of the above. (well, occasionally I have A drink... but that's about as exciting as it gets. LOL) Well that, and I don't see your comments as self-righteous, but that's another story...