A Rant About Smokers

I’m sure that the very people who need to read this the most will be the very people who will not do so, but I feel the need to get this off my chest. I hate smoking and everything about it. I’m tired of soft-pedaling that attitude simply because it’s an addiction.

I’m quite sure I’d be just as addicted to nicotine as the next person, but here’s the difference: I chose never to start smoking. If you did not make that same choice, it’s on you. Own it. Yes, tobacco companies tend to target youth, who are more apt to make stupid choices, and heaven knows none of us are the same people we were at 14, but even so, you made that choice. Take responsibility. Stop making excuses.

And for God’s sake, stop throwing your saliva-soaked cigarette butts on the ground. It’s disgusting. I used to love to walk in the rain. It makes the world seem so fresh and clean. But the last time I did that, I had to wade through about a thousand soggy cigarette butts, and it left me dry heaving. I’d rather look at dog poop. Yeah, you’re addicted. But that doesn’t give you license to be a pig. And any smoker who tries to say they’ve never thrown a butt on the ground, not even once, is lying to themselves and everyone else. And as one of the unfortunates who has to clean up after your lazy ass, know that I’m cursing your name with every butt I have to pick up.

And then there’s the stench. You are so used to it that you probably don’t even smell it anymore, but trust me: you reek. Your house stinks. Your car is even worse. When you sweat, it oozes out of your pores. It clings to your hair and your clothes. (My mother died 26 years ago, and her raincoat, which I inherited, STILL stinks.) And if you leave ash trays around, that disgusting odor permeates the room. Many of us believe that you render yourself unkissable and undateable.

Growing up, the first sound I’d hear every morning was my mother’s smoker’s hack. Do you have any idea how terrifying that is for a child? It’s awful knowing that something is wrong with the person who is supposed to keep you safe. Sure enough, she died of cancer when I was 26.

And I suffered from chronic bronchitis because she chose to expose me to that secondhand smoke at a time when my little lungs were still developing. That’s one powerful addiction if you choose it over your child’s health. Shame on you. And don’t even get me started about women who smoke while pregnant. Would you inject rat poison into your own placenta? No? That’s what you are doing to your unborn child.

And if I hear one more smoker complain…actually have the nerve to complain about not being able to smoke anymore in restaurants or on planes or in other public places, I hereby reserve the right to slap the shit out of that person. Even heroin addicts have the sense not to gripe about these things.

The worst part about all of this is that you are an unbelievably selfish human being. You are killing yourself. You know it. Everyone knows it. You are committing suicide in the slowest possible way. And that hurts the people that you love. That leaves the people who depend upon you vulnerable. That in turn puts an unbelievable strain on the economy and the health care system.

You are shitting all over the incredible gift of life that you have been given. And because of that, while I might like you or even love you, I have zero respect for you and your effed up life choice. Zero.

End of rant.

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A big thanks to StoryCorps for inspiring this blog and my first book. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

11 thoughts on “A Rant About Smokers

  1. lyn sutton

    Born two weeks late and still so underweight they incubated me. Yeah, my mother smoked. She also suffered a mild stroke and a major heart attack from which she recovered but died later from lung cancer. Guess who had to give up large portions of their lives caring for her and how that effected their children. Thank you mother.

    My siblings and I suffer with chronic bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma. None of us have ever smoked. I’m actually allergic to the tobacco plant. Guess how much time and money we’ve spent due to medical costs (doctor visits, hospital stays and medication) lost wages and cancelled paid for classes. Thank you second hand smoke.

    I live in a city that bans smoking in public areas. Guess where you find discarded cigarette butts…defiantly piled beneath posted non smoking area signage. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone being fined or cited for violating this ordinance. Thank you ineffective local government.

    Maybe damaged second hand smoke victims should join a class action suit … http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/second-hand-smoke-lawsuits.html … but it won’t give us back lost time, health or loved ones. Thank you tobacco companies.

    While I’ve sarcastically thanked the irresponsible parties, I genuinely thank you for calling out all smokers who should be held accountable for the destruction they cause like any other addict.

      1. lyn sutton

        And we didn’t even get to the environmental impacts or how many fires are started by discarded butts.
        I encourage people to get involved with movements like Truth Initiative or at least go there for further education and learn what progress is being made. https://truthinitiative.org/get-involved That’s something too.

  2. Samuel Ramirez

    I agree 100% Barb. I developed asthma when I was in high school. During a checkup, a doctor assumed that I was a “heavy smoker.” I had never smoked in my life. When I told him my mother was a smoker, he said that her second hand smoke was damaging my lungs. When I was in college, I would arrive home with my clothes reeking of cigarette smoke. Again, I didn’t smoke, but my fellow students would leave me an unpleasant calling card each day. 30 years later, I have to deal with cigarette fumes seeping into my apartment while people smoke on a courtyard bench just outside my window. I believe that a person should have the right smoke if they want to. However, I don’t think they should have the right to damage the health and peace of mind of others who don’t. I can relate some of the other unpleasant experiences you’ve mentioned. I’ve had to deal with having conversations with people whose breath smelled of tobacco, coffee, and their breakfast all at once. I have come across discarded cigarettes that were still burning on the sidewalk. One time, a smoker burned a hole into the seat of my brand new car! As I was standing in a tight crowd, during an outdoor concert, a woman burned my hand with her cigarette. It seems that non-smokers are being force-fed the disturbing habit of the smokers around them. It’s rare that I come across a smoker who says, “I’m going to smoke, is it okay? Should I open a window or go outside?” Perhaps I’m hypersensitive to cigarette smoke, but I can actually start gagging if someone is smoking on the sidewalk several feet away from me (sometimes half a block away). I know that restaurants and airlines have made an effort to protect non-smokers, but it seems like we can never escape the disturbing side-effects of this damaging habit.

    1. It’s truly frustrating when those with the bad habit intrude upon those who are trying to be healthy. Ugh, I couldn’t stand the smell of cigarettes invading my living space! At least I don’t have to deal with that. I hope that someday it becomes as antiquated as powdered wigs.

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