Diapers and Dragons

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Clearing the Air


MTL's uncle died this last weekend. He had terminal lung cancer, the result of a lifetime of smoking, and he died in his sister's arms, coughing up blood as his lungs hemorrhaged and his life drained away.

I can't get the image my imagination has created out of my head.

Michigan went Smoke Free this last Saturday, ironically enough the same day MTL's uncle passed away. This means that (most) public buildings; including restaurants, hotels, and bars; are now entirely smoke free. No more smoking section, no more clouds of carcinogens floating through the supposedly non-smoking section, no more eyes burning nose dripping lungs aching foulness driving me out of establishments in search of fresh air.

I couldn't have been happier when I saw a hand-drawn sign saying "Now Smoke Free" on the door of the restaurant where I ate Saturday night.

I'll admit to having smoked occasionally in college. It was rare, it was always in social situations, and I'm not sure I ever finished an entire cigarette. Finally, when I realized that hey, I don't LIKE smoking and doing so just because someone else is smoking is, well, STUPID, I stopped doing even that much.

As for those who say the law takes away their personal rights? Well, what about my personal right not to breathe in the smoke they've chosen to inhale? Just because they're THEIR cigarettes doesn't mean the smoke magically knows not to enter MY lungs.

I have friends who smoke. I love my friends. I hate those cigarettes. I hate the smell. I hate the secondhand smoke. And while I have always been one of those annoying (to smokers) people who make snarky comments about cigarettes being bad for your health, now I'm not just snarky.

I'm angry.

I understand the addiction aspect. I do. But now I know, much more up close and personally, with enough of the graphic reality to make me shudder, what may very well lie in store for my loved ones who smoke.

And when I think that every time they light up one of those cancer sticks, they are willingly running the risk of one day lying on a bed, spewing life from their mouths and noses every time their shredded lungs convulse, leaving the nightmare memory of agony and blood and helplessness behind for those who loved them...

Yeah. I'm angry.

Because it's suicide. Slow suicide, but suicide nonetheless.

10 bits of love:

Mommy, I'm Home said...

I watched my dad die of lung cancer. Once you've seen someone you love slowly kill themselves with cigarettes, you have every right to be mad.

Anonymous said...

Yes. We were so thrilled to live in Philly & Boston, which are both smoke free. It was always a shock to go back to Michigan and smell smoke in restaurants. Yay for the smoking ban! My unborn child appreciates it.
- SoccerSister

Draft Queen said...

I had a huge problem quitting smoking until I watched my father die from lung cancer.

So glad MA has been smoke free for YEARS. Even as someone who smoked, it's totally gross to have ppl smoking where you're eating.

PantsWithNames said...

The Bosnians have no concept of non-smoking. You have no idea what a delight it has been to get back to lovely smoke free England. Such bliss. Except in pubs and bars the smoke did mask some pretty nasty smells...

Kathleen said...

So with you!! And I've always been one of those who makes comments as loudly as possible next to the offenders. Georgia passed the no smoking law years ago. We were at lunch in SC a few months ago, and the host asked, "Smoking or non-smoking?" I asked, "You're kidding, right?" Get with it! Glad MI joined the cause.

kanishk said...

It was always a shock to go back to Michigan and smell smoke in restaurants.
free classified india

MomZombie said...

I'm a former two-pack-a-day smoker. I smoked for 15 years. I hope to god that I haven't damaged my lungs permanently. That said, I cannot stand cigarette smoke or self-righteous smokers who think smoking bans are one step away from communism/total government control. You know what's control? Tobacco companies hooking young people on addictive substances that cost way too much money. Smokers are under the control of their addiction and any threat to that is not taken pleasantly. I quit when I became pregnant. Somehow, taking care of my own health wasn't important enough. When I realized how it might affect another life, that turned the corner for me. Also quitting smoking sucks! That stopped me from ever picking up a cigarette again.
**slowly stepping off my soap box**

Dad said...

It's about time!! I too felt that if one was going to talk about rights, one should not have the right to do something that can harm someone else simply by breathing is the same air. It has been great to have smoke free airplanes and now smoke free public places in Michigan, Yes!!

Beth said...

The air here in France is finally starting to clear a bit, too, thanks to the new ban on indoor smoking in public places.
But people still smoke a LOT.

My French FIL died of lung cancer nine years ago. He was a healthy guy with great genes and I bet he could have lived to be 100 if he hadn't smoked those horrible things...

Real cab driver said...

3 of 4 grandparents smoked. Both of my parents. What do you expect? I quit years ago, but I have sympathy for those sorry folks paying $70/carton. It's part of what America was in the 50's when most people smoked.

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