We went to the drive-in movie last night. An enjoyable show (except for ONE "F-Bomb" which could have been omitted--but that's a topic for another time...). As is usual for us, we ate there (jalapeno cheese-burger!) and I put up a camp chair next to our van, tuning in my personal stereo to the movie's frequency. I enjoy hearing the movie through a headset, and this allow more family members to sit in the front seat.
Part way through the movie, the wind blew in an unwelcome guest. Not a bug, not a bird, but something much more unpleasant. The smoke from a guy in a truck one row back. Now I'm not going to begrudge anyone their personal addiction, I even have one or two of my own, but ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! This is a public area, with people who would like to breathe, not to mention children who would like to live a long, healthy life!
I am not the confrontational type of person who would just yell out, "Hey, put that out! It STINKS and I don't want to breathe your CANCER!" I would like to be that person, but I am realistic and know that may never happen (perhaps that is why I have started this blog.....). But I do have some ideas on this subject.
1) Smoking kills. In the time it has taken you to read this far in my blog, close to ten people were killed by Tobacco products. In the time you are taking to read this sentence, one more will die. I don't remember the last serial killer, or terrorist that killed that many people. I know assault rifles have not killed that many people. Not even drunk drivers kill that many people. But smoking is still legal.
2) Tobacco companies PAY politicians to further their interests, and as noted by an article I quoted in my Choral Responses blog, this goes all the way to the top, to our smoke-filled President. Hmmmm... and here I thought our nations leaders were supposed to provide a POSITIVE example!
3) As long as Tobacco can pay of the people who MAKE the laws, and as long as those people also smoke, we will NEVER see a time when this evil killer is finally taken out of commission.
4) Some states have made smoking in public buildings against the law. This is good, but only a small step.
5) If we are really going to make progress, we must make smoking illegal ANYWHERE in public. This includes, but is not limited to: parking lots, parks, concerts, fairs, drive-in theaters, grocery stores, etc.
6) Some businesses do not really have scheduled "breaks" but employees are constantly taking their 5, 10 or 15 minute "smoke breaks." How is THAT right? And then, all they do is stand outside the door and blow their noxious fumes in the faces of innocent customers and passers-by.
7) Smokers do not get trouble for littering. If I throw a candy wrapper on the ground, people will look at me sternly and wonder how I was raised, and I a cop sees, I can be fined. But let a smoker throw his butt on the ground, and nobody sees anything. Worse, sometimes, the butt is not put out and sits there polluting the air around it.
8) If I pass gas in a crowd, people will complain, move away, and bluntly ask why I had to do that (no, I don't make that a regular practice), but smokers can light up right in the middle of a crowd, and everybody keeps quiet to respect their "rights." Well, WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHTS!
9) We should ALL have the right to walk from our car to the store without breathing in smoke! We should all have the right to attend a concert without wondering how much shorter our life is now, thanks to the inconsiderate spreading of carcinogens. We should have the right to not deal with that STINK! I live less than a mile from a dairy, and the manure smells BETTER than tobacco smoke!
10) Killing yourself is illegal. Unless you do it slowly enough! But smokers are taking the rest of us WITH them!
When will our society smarten up and make this dirty, nasty, stinking killer against the law? When will we have a politician honest enough to admit the truth? When will the evil murderers who run tobacco companies be held truly accountable for the deaths of the millions of people they have KNOWINGLY, I repeat, KNOWINGLY killed? And even some of the people who have not lost their lives to tobacco have lost the quality of life they would have had without it!
So, although I am not the person who shouts things out to people at the theater, I will symbolically shout out here. "QUIT BLOWING YOUR CANCER AT ME!" And perhaps I will contact some local politicians also, in an effort to get this disease out of our public places (and I don't just mean at least 25 feet from the building, but completely out of public venues). Perhaps, just maybe, we can join the fight and save the lives of a few kids who haven't tried smoking yet. Check it out.