Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Smoking

So I went on a road trip with two smokers. It was a turning point in my attitude toward smokers. First, some history...

When I was six my dad was given a cigar for one of his friend's having a baby. I took one puff because he offered and then I promptly threw up. That was my smoking lesson. I haven't touched any smoking stick or pipe or anything to my lips since then.

In high school many of my good friends smoked.  I didn't mind because they didn't smoke very often and I was still somewhat used to restaurants having smoking sections. College changed that. I ran more and developed my aerobic system to a high level. I also lived in Massachusetts, which prohibits smoking in all restaurants. Very few of my friends smoked. I learned to avoid smoke. It was (and probably still is) common for several of us to cough loudly at cross country and track meets when we smell smoke. Long distance running is a very lung intensive sport and smoking will only hurt runners.

I knew ahead of time that my two friends smoked. The problem is I didn't realize how much they smoked. Each of them had five cigarettes in the first six hours of the road trip. I was cramped in a car with two smokers. We rolled the windows down but it only helped to a certain extent.

I made a decision about halfway through the trip. No more road trips with smokers. We can still be friends but smokers are not welcome to join me in the future. In five and a half years living and road tripping in New England only once did someone in the same car as me light up a cigarette. That was because I forgot my ice climbing boots. He was a little frustrated to drive four hours one way not to ice climb, understandably. The other 50 hours that him and I have spent in a car and climbing have been smoke free.

It's my health, my comfort, and my choice. You have the choice to smoke and I have the choice to spend time with you. I have several relatives who have emphysema all because their dad smoked. I understand that not everyone is predisposed to get emphysema or lung cancer, but I am afraid that I am. It is me or the smoke. Your choice.


  1. My attitude changed as soon as I got a job that even involved the occasional foray to pick up cigarette butts. It is so frustrating to see people just throw them on the ground and walk away. Obviously, there are smokers who are courteous, but for the majority, it's just another way they are disrespectful to everyone else.

  2. Picking up or cleaning up after other people is rarely fun. It would be nice if everyone would have the experience of cleaning up after other people.


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