Friday, April 10, 2009

No Thanks For Smoking

My only bout of bronchitis occured about 4 years ago. I was in DC at a club. Smoking was allowed. 10 days, sleepless nights with painful, chest-heaving coughs and a dose of prescription medication later, I was better and able to return to work. I was reminded of that illness after hearing the report on what non-smokers are subjected to, the chemicals and crap found in our bodies and lungs from secondhand smoke. In New York City there are 3,000 cases a year of fatal lung cancer in non-smokers. Infants die of SIDS, rates of childhood asthma are much higher than in other cities and teens exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to start smoking. Car exhausts, incinerators and "dust" from construction sites are enough for our nostrils to battle without having to deal with smokers who seem oblivious to everything around them. I have run into a few polite smokers. In March, at First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum, I waited outside for a friend. I hadn't even noticed the gentleman who took a seat a few feet away from me. But he asked me if I minded if he smoked. I told him I mind and he moved without incident. Folks like him are few and far between.

I don't care how much New York State taxes smokers. It's not like raising water rates or food prices. Cigarettes aren't a necessary expense. Smokers chose to start smoking knowing the possiblity of addiction. A young lady interviewed on the street for the news story said too bad for non-smokers cause people aren't going to stop smoking. She's right though. They've all but banished smokers to the edges of society and out into the cold. I sure don't miss coming in from a night out and my leather jacket smelling like smoke (even though that scent did trigger memories of him). This is the 2nd tax applied to cigarettes in less than a year and folks are still smoking. So then don't complain when you're taxed for it; you're inconveniencing others, taxing the health care system with cases of asthma, emphysema, COPD, heart disease, lung cancer that were otherwise avoidable. Bend over for the tobacco companies. I don't care. I'll watch. I like porn.

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