An Ordinary World

books, blabberings, and a life semi-common

Smoke Spirals

It was announced this week that the smoking ban in New York City would extend to banning cigarettes in parks across the city, beaches, and certain public plazas including but not limited to Times Square and Union Square.

I think it’s a fantastic decision. I was hoping for designated areas for people to smoke in those areas but an all-out ban? Let’s cheer!

Okay, I understand the controversy around this, I do. Is it doing too much and creating some sort of community where “everything” is taken away from its citizens? Or is it just the brave attempt to help humans breathe better and be healthier?

I assume the latter.

The thing is… Smoking sucks. I will say this flat-out especially because I did it for a bit in college – you know, the type of social smoking that happens with theatre kids and drinking. When I look back at that time, I really don’t know how I did it. It’s disgusting.

What’s more disgusting, to me, is the massive amount of smoke I inhale on a daily basis just by walking in Manhattan. Yes, I know some people are cautious of it and try to stay near buildings but there are also the people who walk with their cigarettes up by their faces as they walk in a crowded area like Rockefeller Center. And, of course, there are those who don’t even notice that the smoke is bothering others, even when the cigarette is held down at the side.

The truth of it is, for non-smokers, having to deal with cigarettes on a daily basis isn’t the best. I don’t have statistics for you. I don’t have diatribes from sources that talk about the health issues of second-hand smoke.

I’m just really happy that soon, I’ll be able to walk through Times Square or Central Park and not feel like choking to death on the plumes of cigarette smoke that come flying toward my face.

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3 responses to “Smoke Spirals

  1. Sara 24 February 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Smoke bothers me so much. I hate when people feel it’s okay to blow smoke in someone’s face as they’re walking down the sidewalk or something. I always make it a point to cough and glare at that person. Passive aggressive? Totally. But I don’t want to get punched!

  2. Amber Waves 1 March 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I’m going to have to play devil’s advocate here.

    First, I too used to casually/stress smoke. Not often, not much, for a few years. I then discovered why I was getting chronic sinus infections: I’m not only asthmatic (yeah, I know) but allergic to cigarette smoke. When I catch a bad inhale, I am sick for 3-5 days with allergic symptoms. It sucks. I made my fiance quit casually smoking because I’d get sick from the smoke on his clothes! In Toronto, there’s a ban in public buildings, in common areas of apartment buildings and you cannot smoke within 25 feet of an entrance to said building.

    That said, I think this ban is a little unfair. While I would love to walk the Toronto streets with no smoke to contend with, I also have a best friend who is viciously addicted to smoking. She can’t afford health care – no insurance – for her anxiety and pain issues, so she smokes instead. I can’t take that from her.

    Smoking is an addiction. Sure, we start off choosing to smoke, but people also choose to drink and try drugs. Some people get hooked. Now, I had a HORRIBLE time quitting a 4 cig/day habit. Pack a day smokers? My utomost sympathy to them!

    Ultimately, smoking itself is legal. It’s like drinking. We have designated places where we are allowed to drink (bars and patios, and our home); conversely, there should be places for smokers, as well. I firmly appreciate the efforts to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke, but at the same time, just making it harder won’t make people quit. They’ll just get their ingenuity going. I’ve seen it, working security in an office tower.

    The government should be simultaneously offering support for quitting the habit, to reduce the number of smokers – a better long-term goal – but they won’t, of course. They make too much money from the taxes.

    All I’m saying is, try being the person addicted to a government-sanctioned substance who’s being treated as filthy, evil, etc. for something they can buy in a corner store… Most smokers would love to quit, if they weren’t so bloody hooked. At least here in Ontario, they hold annual contests to win a car for those who actively try to quit and succeed, and of course, free health care like therapy for the stress that led to smoking in the first place. It’s all very cart before the horse not to address the addiction.

    • Mary 1 March 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Okay, yes, I see your points but I can’t help but be happy that I can, at least, be in largely populated areas of the city without having to breathe in smoke. Granted, I know the moment I step away from the areas and go to, say… 5th Ave right off Rockefeller… that I’ll just be breathing in more smoke because that’s where all the smokers are congregated.

      Though, while yes, not having insurance is a fucking killer (I’ve seen the worst happen to those without it), it just baffles me that people would rather spend SO much money a year (hell, even a month) on buying cigarettes when maybe that money could go toward medication that could help illnesses. I will fully admit that there are just some medications that can’t simply be bought over the counter, especially for some of the more serious issues but it’s just something that I, personally, cannot understand.

      It goes both ways really. While it’s unfair to slowly take away smoking areas, it’s also not fair to allow so much cigarette smoke to filter everywhere. In the end, I don’t know if anyone wins… The government maybe for causing so much debate. Y’know?

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