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Monday, 16 January 2012

My stance on smoking

I wrote this a while ago, in German, and it is as true now, as it was then. Because each time somebody smokes (and it happens all the time), I am reminded of that situation. 

We went to thein  beach yesterday. The weather was beautiful, the cold didn't bother us. We went to Sealife Scheveningen because K. loves watching fish. After that, she played on the beach a little bit. That was so much fun! At some point, we were hungry, and decided to go to an Italian restaurant at the beach, since we knew the pizza there was good. 

I ordered lasagna (I love lasagna!), and a hot chocolate, my husband ordered a pizza and a grog. We sat close to the entrance because it was very hot inside. And so we had some fresh air, or so we thought. We were joined by a large family with a dog. They seemed nice, and the dog was  small, cute, and well-behaved.  When we were done eating, I wanted to breastfeed J. I took her out of her stroller, and was just about to go back to my table, when I smelled something bad. The woman sitting next to me was holding a cigarette in her hand. 

I've always been very sensitive to cigarette smoke. It bothered me that after a party, my clothes and my hair smelled of cigarettes. I have tried to smoke one cigarette in my life because I wanted to know how it feels like. It felt gross, and I've never tried it again ever since. When I was pregnant with Klara, it was enough for me to smell cigarette smoke, and I had to vomit. 

Since I had children, I became even less understanding of smokers. Because this is not only about my health. Now it's also about my children's health. Luckily, nowadays smoking has become pretty uncool, and the number of smokers is going down. You notice when somebody smokes. The lady in the restaurant smoked her cigarette for maybe 15 minutes. But hours later, when we came back home, my hair still reeked of cigarette smoke. My cuddly blue cashmere sweater reeked of cigarette smoke. And the worst thing was that K. and J. also reeked of cigarette smoke. I couldn't hug my children without having to cough. 

Of course, you could always say that this was our fault. After all, the part of the restaurant with access to fresh air was designated for smokers.But we have as much right for fresh air as anybody else. This woman saw that we had two little children. What would have happened if she had gone outside or waited a little bit? 

Dear smokers, it's not like I have something against the fact that you destroy your lungs in the name of your personal freedom. But I really, really have something against my children having to inhale that smoke. The fact that the restaurant had a special designated area for smokers, didn't help, because while smokers get access to fresh air, non-smokers have to choose between cigarette smoke and the hot, sticky air inside of the restaurant.  And they still have to pass the smokers. And so the end effect would have been the same: my sweater would still  have stunk of cigarette smoke. And Klara's hair. And Julia's hair. 

Sometimes, it seems, I am not so tolerant. This, of course, is my own opinion on smoking, not everybody has to agree.

Do you smoke? How do you feel about people smoking? Can you think of a good solution to this?

On the topic of smoking, KevinMD  has published an interesting article. How very appropriate!

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