Forgive the overly poetic title, this is yet another topic I care deeply about and feel I would be remiss if i did not speak about it. I am a smoker and have been for the last five years, I don’t know what it was like to be a smoker before the 2004 smoking ban and I don’t regret that in the slightest because even though I have made a choice, I see no reason why anyone else would have to suffer for that choice.
So why then is it that smokers are maligned and attacked for exercising that most fundamental of human rights, the right to make our own decisions free from the risk of ridicule or persecution.
I will admit that I can see why non smokers would dislike being around those that smoke, it leaves unpleasant smell that seems to cling to just about everything and the affects of second hand smoke have been reported to be more harmful than that of first hand smoke but if I may propose a way to avoid these side effects? stand a little bit further away from the individual who is smoking or stand downwind from them, staring at them and making comments about how selfish they are isn’t going to change anything about the situation.
Moving on from this, there has been significant action within the Irish government to place further sanctions upon smokers. The proposed introduction of plain package cigarettes to ‘make smoking less appealing’ as well as the ban of smoking from hospital campuses have been in the news over the last few months. These measures are not extreme in my opinion but the other measure that is being brought in is. The latest proposal set before the government is to limit the hours in which cigarettes may be purchased, such as banning their sale between 7:00 am and 9:00 am in the mornings and after 6:00 pm in the evenings. This is on par with the ban on the sale of alcohol in off licences after 10:00 pm and is a ridiculous piece of legislation but I’m getting away from my original point.
To close, I want to say that as a smoker I know my habit is not healthy. I do not need to be told that, no more than an obese person needs to be told that their weight may some day kill them (follow this link http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB4549.html to learn more about how dangerous being obese is in comparison to smoking) Further more, I would like to say that I have made my choice with my life, I do not have to defend that choice to anyone, nor does anyone need to defend their life choices to me. Surely we can all just respect each other’s life choices and get on with our own lives rather than poking into other peoples’.