Life as a smoker.
So many things stand against those who choose to smoke, and the biggest obstacles start with the media. Certain commercials such as TRUTH are alright. tobacco has serious risks and everyone has a right to know these risks. it's organizations like NO STANK YOU that cause the real problems. as i see it, announcements like NO STANK YOU are a counter to old campaigns that tried to hook people, especially the youth, into smoking with the idea that it was the cool thing to do (ie, the marlboro cowboy, the leather jacket and shades camel, etc). the problem is that NO STANK YOU counters these messages by demonizing the smoker, saying that smokers are basically losers that won't amount to anything.
This message gets absorbed by todays youth and causes them to cast out those who do smoke as if they were lepers. others harrass smokers about how bad smoking is and how we shouldn't do it. what everyone seems to forget is that smoking is a personal choice. these days every child goes through D.A.R.E. and every smokers knows what the risks are. why do we still do it? we enjoy it. we don't expect anyone to understand, we just want everyone to leave us in peace. then there are those that simply ostracize us. we make a personal choice, and we are dirt because of it. what happened to the land of the free, where we can do just whatever we want so long as it doesn't infringe on other's rights?
A perfectly acceptable concern is second hand smoke. the laws banning smoking in public buildings is completly logical. i accept the risks and make a personal decision, but that doesn't mean i would force my choices, and therefore risks, on others by smoking near them. if i'm walking on the sidewalk and i see someone coming i move off to the side a little to try to avoid bothering them. usually i just go somewhere out of the way, or somewhere like a designated smoking shelter. at my college we have these shelters. i once overheard a conversation: "What are those bus stops for?" "they're shelters for smokers." "that's bullshit!" It's not bull. if the weather gets nasty, anyone can take shelter inside, but if i want to smoke i have to face the elements. is it really bullshit that smokers are accomodated with roof to cover them? aside from weather, smokers tend to congregate around these shelters regardless of the weather. this means that non-smokers don't have to beware of second-hand as much.
We're simply choosing to do something we enjoy. we're not out to get you with our second hand smoke. we don't need people bitching about the risks and consequences. it's our lives, and we can handle it. just give a little respect, and we'll give a little right back.
as a sidenote, i'm sure i'll be getting the "fuck you, see if we care if you kill yourself!" comments. probably won't matter if i ask you to keep it to yourself, but i will anyways. and remember, if you bother to post the comment, it means you do care on some level about us smoking.