Stop Smoking On My Children

 

Disclaimer: If you are a sensitive smoker, stop reading here. There is a fair amount of smoker-bashing in this post. This is not directed at all smokers. Some of my favourite people are or used to be smokers.

 

I just love it when people smoke in front of my children. I want to hug them. In the face. With my foot.

 

It drives me nuts when someone lights up in front of my girls. I feel anger bubble up inside me but, because I’m not one for confrontation, I don’t say anything for fear of offending. So I sit and seethe in silence. But you know what? I shouldn’t have to say that you can’t smoke in front of my children – the warning label on your pack of cigarettes already says that. As does the law*, but whatever.

 

Image credit: today.uconn.edu

Image credit: today.uconn.edu

 

When I was pregnant with Poppet, Hubby and I went to watch my brother’s band play at a non-smoking venue. A girl in front of us lit up a cigarette. In an unprecedented (and as-yet unrepeated) Hulk-like transformation, Mama Bear tapped Smoking Girl on the shoulder and pointed to the No Smoking sign right next to her. Smoking Girl shrugged. I paused to wonder if she could actually read, then tapped her on the shoulder again. She stubbed out her cigarette in the most melodramatic manner possible. I smiled my sweetest smile and thanked her.

 

white_no_smoking_sign_l

 

I have been to countless children’s parties where the adults lounge around with cigarettes while the children play in front of them. Seriously, people? You can’t go around to the other side of the house? Poppet freaks out when people smoke around her. “Mommy, they’re smoking on me!” she cries. Please, people, stop smoking on my children.

 

Now, I understand that it’s winter and it’s cold outside. But if you’re going to poison my children then I would appreciate at least being asked, “Do you mind?” before you light up. (The answer, of course, is yes. Yes, I mind. Very much.)

 

We were at a party this weekend. People were smoking. I was trying to herd my girls away from smoker-occupied rooms, with little success. The day after the party, Poppet’s chest was so tight that we had to nebulise her. The following morning, we nebulised her again and gave her cortisone syrup so that she could breathe without wheezing or coughing up a lung.

 

Am I being unreasonable and insensitive to smoker’s rights? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure my daughters’ right to breathe trumps your right to nicotine, tar and a bunch of carcinogens.

 

There are friends and family members who will make an effort not to smoke in front of my children. Thank you. I appreciate your missing out on part of a conversation or spending five minutes in the freezing cold. My daughters’ lungs thank you too.

 

*http://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Stop-smoking/Prevalance-in-sa/10-smoking-laws-you-must-know-20120721

 

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