Let’s face it, smoking is a controversial topic. If you smoke, you probably feel that it is your personal right to smoke and that you should be able to do so anywhere you want to. On the other hand, if you don’t smoke, you probably feel that those who smoke around you invade your personal ‘healthy’ space; and that your health is being jeopardized due to other people’s personal choices.
I tend to have an extreme sensitivity to smoke. So much so, that when I’m driving on the highway, I can tell if someone is smoking in a car 100 feet in front of me. I kid you not. I am that sensitive. I’m not sure this level of sensitivity is typical, but I do know that many of my friends and family are also very sensitive to smoke and don’t really like to be around it. Granted, we have come a long way in regards to no-smoking laws, but from a non-smoker’s perspective, I think we could go a lot further.
Obviously, there are smokers who are very sensitive and try to minimize their impact on others, but unfortunately, many smokers aren’t. My friend Amy D. and I were chatting about this and we agreed that there are certain places where smoking seems contradictory to the perceived experience, and as a result, we wish no-smoking laws would be passed for these places. At the risk of offending some very nice smokers (it isn’t you, it is the smoke), here is our list:
Perceived Experience: You will get a healthy dose of the smell of salty, sea air as the warm breeze relaxes you and your toes play in the sand.
Reality: When people smoke at the beach, the beautiful ocean breeze wafts smoke instead. Further, many people (not all people, but many) discard their cigarette butts in the sand, creating a landfill of cigarette carcasses.
Perceived Experience: You leave the city to get away from the smog and pollution. You look forward to the beautiful fresh, clean air of the mountains and running streams.
Reality: Your hike through the wilderness is taken over by smoke instead of the smell of pine trees. Not only do you need more oxygen because of your hike and altitude, but now you need oxygen because of the smoke.
Perceived Experience: It is a beautiful day and instead of eating all cooped up inside, you dine al fresco, hoping to enjoy the warmth of the sun and a light, natural, non-air conditioned breeze.
Reality: Many restaurants don’t let people smoke inside, but yet, they haven’t extended that law to their outside facilities. As a result, you end up preoccupied with the quality of your air than the quality of your food.
Marathons / Triathlons / Ironmans / Bike Races:
Perceived Experience: World class athletes are pushing themselves to the max. Oxygen is their life and their fuel.
Reality: While at the Boston Marathon, I was blown away by the number of people who were smoking at the finish line. The poor athletes just had completed a 26 mile course, only to be greeted by clouds of smoke. So much for a cool down with quality oxygen intake.
Perceived Experience: Much like the ‘Parks/Nature Preserves’, you escape to the mountains for some one-on-one with nature, snow and skiing. You look forward to the majestic views of the slopes from your favorite chair lift.
Reality: The people in front of you on the chair lift are taking their 10 minute smoke break. You feel like you are in a tobacco plant as the breeze gently carries the smoke down the mountain back at you.
Perceived Experience: You look forward to seeing your children’s faces light up while watching the lions, tigers and bears. Oh, my!
Reality: You and your children feel like you are soon to be on the endangered species list as you vie for a smokeless viewing point.
At Entrances of Bars and Public Buildings:
Perceived Experience: Yes, you found a popular bar to go to for your Friday night outing. That is okay, though, you’ll be on line with your friends.
Reality: Since your local city doesn’t allow smoking inside the bar, all of the smokers crowd outside of the front door to inhale their favorite ciggy. The wait with your friends isn’t so pleasant after all.
Are there any places that you wish would outlaw smoking?