March 05, 2004
Recently I was approached by an organization working at making
Ketchikan a smoke free community. They asked if I would be in
support of their cause, and I said yes! I know it may not be
a real popular thing to advocate the taking away the rights of
smokers but what I cared about most was "taking away the
rights of the non-smokers", so that's where I take my stand.
I hear that argument all the time from smokers that they have
rights and should be able to exercise those rights. They choose
to smoke and risk their own health therefore they should be able
to smoke anywhere they want and risk the health and happiness
of those around them as well? I am democratic minded, I believe
in human rights, so long as they don't infringe on rights of
others who are entitled to a safe, healthy, and happy life too.
I have a car that will go 150 miles an hour and I feel I should
have the right to drive it that fast but can I? No. And why not?
Because it is not only unsafe for me but unsafe for those around
me. An infringement of my rights as an owner of a vehicle? Hmm.
I own a gun. I should be able to have target practice in my own
back yard since it is on my property, I own it. Is it a safe
thing to do since I have neighbors living around me, children
walking past my house on the way to school, people driving by
in their cars? Hmm.
Well, I have wracked my brain trying to come up with an analogy
that would be perfect when confronted by one of those "human
rights issues smokers" but haven t been able to come up
with the perfect one yet.
The perfect analogy would be for a non-smoker to be in the company
of a smoker. The non-smoker would engage in an activity that
would cause the smoker to reek of a foul smell, would give him
a splitting headache, would cause him pain in his chest for the
next 48 hours, would cause him difficulty in breathing, would
cause cold symptoms in his nasal passages for at least the next
24 hours, would make him nauseous and put a bad taste in his
mouth, and would pass on carcinogens that could cause cancer,
death, or at minimum other health issues like emphazema, asthma
attacks, or other respiratory problems.
Personally, I think smoking anywhere but outside should be banned.
I know that sounds aggressive but I m really tired of going to
a restaurant to enjoy a good meal and have it ruined because
of cigarette smoke that wanders across the room and into my space,
my nose, my lungs, and makes me sick to my stomach. It makes
me want to take a plate of steaming dog doo doo over and place
it next to the person smoking with a note that says enjoy your
breakfast . Would your breakfast be enjoyable if you had that
wonderful aroma of dog doo doo going up your nose as you were
eating? Well, there is no difference.
I'm tired of not going out and doing things I enjoy like dancing
or playing darts because my eyes are burning, my throat gets
raspy, I get a headache, and my fun is spoiled so I go home early.
I get home, peel off my foul smelling clothes and put them in
the washing machine, take a couple of Tylenol, and finish up
with a shower. The next morning my chest hurts and I feel like
I have a horrible hangover when in fact I have consumed no alcohol
the night before. It's all from cigarettes!
Well then there's the argument you don't have to go where people
are smoking ! I think YOU don't have to go where people are NOT
smoking. You are the one with the unhealthy habit, why should
you have more rights that the person who chooses not to have
the unhealthy habit. Talk about a screwed up way of thinking!
Those of you who smoke may read this and think it's pretty funny,
maybe even pretty ridiculous, but in fact it holds true not only
for me but hundreds of others as well. If there was something
someone was doing that caused this much discomfort, this much
frustration, this much unhappiness in your life, I bet you would
have something to say about it and I bet you would want to do
something about it!
Ketchikan, AK - USA
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