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February 23, 2010

(Apologies in advance to any smokers who may read this, but I feel kind of strongly about this topic)

Yesterday I heard a story on the radio (during my 4 hour commute home) about a proposed ban on smoking on Winnipeg soccer fields. It’s a reasonable request, considering the number of children that are present, but a pro-smoking organization called My Choice is protesting. They figure it’s their choice to smoke if they want to.

They’re right, it is their choice. It’s their choice if they want to pollute their bodies, age prematurely and suffer from chronic lung conditions or cancer. It’s their choice to support an industry that has way too much power and has a negative ecological impact. It’s their choice. But it’s not mine.

It’s not my choice to breath in second hand smoke, which aggravates my asthma and causes headaches. It’s not my choice to leave a building and walk into a cloud of smoke, because smokers ignore the 15 metre law and business owners don’t enforce it. It’s not my choice to be walking down a public street and have a smoker light up in front of me. This is especially bad during the summer months in Toronto, when the humidity captures the particles and they practically hang in place. Smoking outdoors does not lessen the impact. It’s not my choice to be standing on the train platform and have to inhale second hand smoke because someone has decided to ignore the sign posted saying it’s not allowed. It’s not my choice to sit next to a smoker on the subway or train or plane and have to suffer the nauseating and headache inducing reek coming off of them. These are not my choices.

As far as I’m concerned, smoking should be restricted to your own home and private property, unless there are children present, and in that case it should be illegal. Those children don’t have a choice either. I feel that smoking anywhere public, including outdoor spaces, should be illegal.

The president of My Choice argues that they’re being bullied for their way of life. In a way, he’s right, how you live your life is your responsibility. But not when it can harm others!!! We imprison people for their lifestyle choices that have a negative impact on society. I firmly believe everyone has a right to their beliefs and choices, as long as they don’t violate other peoples rights and choices. Smoking hurts! That’s a violation.

I could go on and on. Someday the tobacco industry will fall, and the world will be a better place. But at the moment they’re so powerful, it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon. They’re probably tracking my every word….

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