Ahh, smoking arguments They’re as bad as religious arguments. Nothing I say here is going to change anyone’s mind, but here, for the record are my views, posted so that the smokers among you realise how non-smokers perceive you.
And I know all you smokers have heard it all before. Doesn't make it any less true.
Most of this is basic personal hygiene stuff. The fundamental point of this piece is that smokers smell. Their houses smell, their clothes smell, their breath smells. Everything about them smells like an old ashtray. That is not cool.
You may have guessed that I don’t smoke. Outside of E2, I can’t say that any of my friends is a smoker. In social situations--parties, in a restaurant, over dinner-- nobody smokes, at least no-one I regularly associate with. I might go for months without ever smelling cigarette smoke. So when someone does light up, it is very noticeable. Quite simply, it stinks.
Yes, I am older than most members of E2. When I was younger, a trip to the pub involved cigarettes. A lot of them. It was no big deal at the time. I never smoked, but smoking and other peoples’ cigarettes were part of my life. Like a tramp whose nose has become accustomed to the smell of stale urine, I never noticed.
It was when the children came along that things changed. Like alcohol, smoking during the early weeks of pregnancy is a known risk to the unborn child. Even if a woman thinks that the cigarettes she smokes while single are adding to her cool factor, the reality of pregnancy often changes her attitude. More accurately, I should say, it focusses the mind and destroys all the self-delusion that many smokers experience.
Partners want to be supportive, and they, too stop smoking. At least, all the men in my circle did when the women became pregnant. Besides, who wants to force a newborn to ingest nicotine, carcinogens and all the other nasties that come with second-hand cigarette smoke?
The same was true of drink. Many women gave up alcohol during pregnancy; many continue to drink very little alcohol as their children grow up.
But we need to get back to smoking. I see that there is a predilection for food on this site. I see many people here who love their food. Smoking kills all taste--at least for those of us who do not regularly abuse our palates with hot tar and ash. I'm told that smokers can appreciate subtle flavours after a cigarette. I find it hard to believe, but the fact remains that your cigarette smoke kills any such sensitivity in your non-smoking neighours. They cannot taste a fine wine; cannot appreciate the aroma of wild mushrooms when their olfactory organs are assaulted by your wretched smoke.
I was in a restaurant the other day. It was a special treat to mark some important occasion. The chef is renowned in his profession and has earned a number of Michelin stars. The diners at the adjacent table lit their cigarettes and instantly, all the pleasure of my meal changed to distress. I could no longer smell the bouquet of the wine; it was completely masked by the overwhelming odor of the cigarette smoke. I could no longer taste the food: the smell of the smoke overwhelmed the subtle flavours of asparagus and butter. In the end I was denied the pleasure I had long anticipated because some selfish smoker chose to light her cigarette, and blow the smoke away from her colleagues and across my table.
One table among 20 or 30, spoiling everyone's enjoyment.
Tiefling argues his point well from a health point of view. My own attitude is that smoking seems to dull the senses, both epicurean and social.
Talk to airline hostesses; talk to servers in bars and restaurants; talk to anyone who has to work regularly in a smoke-filled environment. Smokers stink; many appear unaware of how revolting their habit is to non-smokers. They appear unaffected by how their selfish habits make their neighbors’ lives less fulfilling, destroying their health and increasing their dry-cleaning bills.
Smoking is so not cool.