The hostile world of a smoker

Why are there such a wide variety of views about smoking? I think it ultimately ties to childhood for most. I remember having a very negative view of cigarettes as a kid, neither of my parents smoked and my mom was a school teacher so I saw a good amount of anti smoking advertisement. I would often see my mom appalled at cigarette butts thrown on our front lawn, and my dad works road construction so he sees smokers as lazy because of smoke breaks, but they both drink and I didn’t think about that until a friend brought it to my attention. One Friday my dad had bought us Taco Bell and we were all eating together, This friend was usually pretty talkative around adults but on this occasion he made very little comment, I also noticed he was very fixated on the corona in my dad’s hands. The following week at school kids walked up to me and my mom asking if my dad was an alcoholic, now my dad was by no extent an alcoholic, but this made me and my sister (a couple grades below me) take notice of drinking, this led to us criticizing our own parents about their drinking and using what we learned in school about alcohol against them. I look back on this now with much regret. Around this time my dad was supervising road renovations everyday for long periods of time, sometimes not coming home, I don’t think he needed to hear a sloppy lecture from me or my sister about how having a couple beers on a weekend was going to ruin his life. This sort of environment that was once in my home is the reality that many smokers live in. I understand that young people shouldn’t smoke, we should all be behind educating kids on the health effects of smoking, but we don’t need to scrutinize working class smokers.

My dad has a negative view of cigarettes but he understands the motives. His job can demand 7 day weeks with 16 hour days in the hot sun on blacktop, many members of my dad’s crew look forward to smoke breaks to get through their day. When you learn about people in situations like this it’s pretty troubling to see someone else try to lecture a smoker about his habit. In the summertime I used to pack fruit in a warehouse as a first job and we were right next to a bike trail so we’d see see a few cyclists and families walking by while we were on break, on morning during the first break of the day a family strolled by and the father felt obligated to stop and give a few of my fellow coworkers an unnecessary lecture centered around how they were poisoning the youth. The opinionated man sported a white blazer with matching pants and fancy brown leather boots, the co worker he was primarily talking to was a guy named Dave who looks like dog the bounty hunter. after giving his two cents to my coworkers Dave and another co-worker simultaneously bit off the end of a cigarette and spat at his shiny shoes. With everyone watching, even my supervisors, nobody said anything.

Yes smoking is bad; deforestation, garbage waste, forest fires, death, all awful things; but smoking has been around forever and probably won’t stop. Educating youth on the health effects of cigarettes is essential but for adults we should take a different approach. Spread awareness of alternatives like Vaping or Nicotine gum, so that we can help solve the serious issues of smoking listed above. Solving the real issue at hand like this instead of irritating it will leave smokers in a less hostile world.