In my environmental journalism class we often critique other classmate's papers. On Wednesday we looked at a paper concerning a proposed smoking ban in St. Louis County. This smoker in my class and I got into a friendly fight. I really like lady, she's interesting for sure. She said that the reason non-smokers complain is "because they don't have enough to bitch about." ha!
Anyways, my teacher asked if anyone wanted to write an op-ed for our school newspaper. I offered. I'm going to post my article on here. I think it might be a little much, but I like it.
Here is my paper verbatim:
“Do you mind if I smoke?” Actually, yes, I do. I hate your nasty smelling smoke, and that you don’t care enough to blow it in the other direction when you smoke around me. There. I said it.
In my experience, smokers are just plain rude. There are a few who are considerate, but for the most part they just don’t care. For example, just last week I was at the zoo and even though there are designated smoking areas, people were smoking all over the place. Several times I got behind someone who was blowing their pollution into my face.
It wouldn’t be so bad, but smokers don’t even care that they’re not just blackening their lungs, but everyone around them. Now that I have a little baby to care for, it’s just infuriating that smokers can’t follow the rules.
The other day, parents were smoking at the park. Here I am trying to enjoy my child at the park and smoker parents are smoking us out.
The other week, I was sitting outside Sverdrup working on some homework and a smoker just plopped down next to me and lit up. I wanted to shout ‘Excuse me! Do you mind? I was here first!’ But since I’m not one to be confrontational, I kindly got up and left. Can’t you read the sign that asks that you step away from the building to smoke?
Not only that, but I have also known smokers to start fires—then leave. At my mother-in-laws graduation someone had put their butt in a smoking post, and it caught on fire! This isn’t the first time that has happened either. You would think one of the smokers would have enough courtesy to tell someone they started a fire, but of course it’s the non-smoker who got to deal with the problem.
At work, smokers constantly burn holes in seats and cups, and start fires because they don’t properly extinguish their cigarettes. They use potatoes as ashtrays, even though there is an ashtray provided on the table. Does anyone actually think there can be a “non-smoking” section in a restaurant where smoking is allowed? The partition usually consists of some smoke-filled air.
When they’re driving, without even thinking about it, smokers toss their butt out the window for someone else to deal with. As a professor of mine asks, do you think the world is your ashtray?
Why don’t smokers put their cigarettes out, and then stick the butt in their pocket? I actually know someone who does this, but when I ask others why they don’t they reply that they don’t want to smell like cigarettes. News flash: you already do! And spritzing rose scented body mist all over after every time you smoke doesn’t help. It just makes you smell like a rosy ashtray.
What’s even worse is that your smoking also makes me stink! Every time people smoke around me I can smell my disgusting scent all day. And at the end of the day, I have you to thank for the massive headache I feel from smelling my rosy, smoky hair all day long.
Smokers argue that they have “an individual right” to smoke. What about my individual right to clean air? What about my individual right to smell like powder instead of ash?
Needless to say, I can’t wait until St. Louis passes a smoking ban, and I hope it’s soon. I also hope that it spreads throughout the whole state. Then, every Friday night I won’t be forced to inhale your second hand smoke in order to make a buck.
If you’re going to smoke, at least be more courteous. Realize that everyone around you doesn’t want to inhale your smoke, or smell like smoke. Smoke in your home, and keep your lung cancer to yourself!