Guidelines For Smokers In The 21st Century
There are three types of people in the world: smokers, ex-smokers, and never-have smokers. An estimated 20.8% of all adults (45.3 million people) in the US smoke cigarettes. If you smoke, you do, too. So does your car, your house, your clothing, your workspace, and your children. Most people (even many smokers) find this offensive.
We are heavy smokers who have come to realize how offensive smokers can be to non-smokers, now a majority of the population, and are sure there are many smokers out there who are as ignorant of this as we were. We are writers and have minimal public contact, particularly given the flexibility of our time, which allows us to function in many ways to avoid mainstream public and workplace traffic. We have become aware of just how badly one who smokes smells to those who do not, and that we carry the smell of smoke on our clothes, skin, hair and breath for hours.
Coming out of a car and extinguishing the cigarette before you enter a restaurant or work place may meet the legal no smoking law, but smokers offend all and anyone we contact, leave the smell of smoke in a room even after we leave, and, if we smoke heavily or have been in a closed car, a person with asthma is liable to have an attack just because we walked by or said hello.
We admit that smoking is not the only public social offense, but we are not guilty of the others: just smoking. Smokers are obliged to pay escalating cigarette taxes but do not have the right to smoke in most public locations; even the beach is being placed off limits to our butts (no pun intended). Too bad for us: when we smoke, we smell and, as smokers, we have given the non-smoking public good reason to vote those taxes and restrictions on us; smokers could and should exert a lot more control on how much smoke smell we carry, and subject the rest of the world to.
The molecules of smoke and its smell are in the same size range of many viruses. They easily disperse through the air, and closet doors offer little protection. Air filters can't trap smoke particles because they are smaller than the openings that let the air flow through the filter.
Because we smoke, we usually have a stale cigarette odor about us. The odor clings to the clothes, hair, hands, cars and homes. If we smoke around our children, they smell, too. Usually the smoker does not notice; most smokers are desensitized to the smell of smoke. Just as garlic or alcohol ingested prevents us from smelling it on our own breath, and provide us with immunity to the smell of it on others, smokers can not smell smoke, unless it is overwhelming, on others; non-smokers can smell it on a smoker as much ten feet away. We often do not realize that the cigarette we disposed of might as well be coming back in with us from break or lunch. Our clothing, hair and breath smell after a cigarette break. The smoke in our lungs is exhaled into the air of co-workers, clients, and clerks for the next two to three hours.
We have every right to smoke. We know the health risks, and we know the dirty-ashtray side of smoking, and it is a choice we make. We do not have the right to impose the smell and toxins of our smoke on others. That we as smokers do not practice the types of cleansing and consideration regimens to mitigate the offensiveness of smoking, anti-smoking sentiment (which continues to grow daily) becomes justified by our own actions.
Smokers tend to socialize and congregate with other smokers and are usually not bothered by - or have been so desensitized as to be immune to - the odors of moderate to heavy smoke. To most all non-smokers, smokers reek; proximity to a heavy smoker can even trigger an asthma attack in a non-smoker.
Smoking is a personal choice and a social choice, but society does make judgments about our choices. We smokers do not pro-actively avoid offending others. . Most of us who smoke will not quit. What we can do is take action to keep the odor to a minimum. We need to wake up and become protective of our smoking rights.
Your House: The particles of smoke are smaller than many viruses. Your house filter will not trap smoke particles. Smoke odor will travel through your entire house, moving with air currents. Cigarette smoke is a sticky, tacky substance that smells bad. Most of us do not realize how bad it is because we are used to it.
Your Work Area: When you enter your office, cubicle, or other area, the smoke molecules coming off your body and from your clothing, breath, and skin permeate the room/area. This is especially noticeable if you have been smoking in a car, and deadly if that car has been closed up. If you smoke, it smells bad where you work. Keep your work area wiped down and well ventilated.
If you work with the public (stores, restaurants, schools) you must be aware when you return to your job after a smoke break that doing so without wiping off the residual smoke can cause odor issues that effect the public you work with and can cause customer issues for you, and for your employer as well.
Your car: For many, the car has become a sanctuary for a cigarette and a good cup of coffee, and for many the commute itself is therapeutic. If you do smoke in your car, open as many windows as you can; never smoke in a sealed up car unless you do not care if you reek. Clean and deodorize your upholstery often. Never use the ashtray; carry a tin in the ashtray and use that, emptying it frequently. Consider using a smoking jacket/cap on your commute and plan on taking time to clean up. Be sure you make an extra effort to remove the odor when you get out of the car.
Your Children: The more smoke you are around, the less you can smell it. When we take our children to school in a car and we smoke, we send our children to school smelling of smoke. Children, particularly elementary children, can be very blunt about bad odors, and often hurtful in expressing themselves. At the older levels, the problem is still there, but the students may be less forthcoming with the information about the odor, but they will socially exclude offenders. Your children will most likely be unable to detect the odor others find objectionable.
As a Guest: When you are a guest in the home of a non-smoker , you probably do not ask to smoke. But you are probably leaving your hosts home littered with smoke odor particles from your clothes, body, hair and breath. You may even be missing out on invitations for that reason.
Being considerate about the effects of your smoking on others is not difficult. It is just a matter of being aware, being prepared, and taking small actions, one at a time.
It is truly amazing that people who are otherwise fussy about the way they are groomed, dressed or present themselves will allow themselves to stink. It is rude to stink, whether it is from smoke, not bathing, or too much perfume/cologne. Most people will never tell you that you smell bad, and they surely won't tell you if you are being left out of something or not chosen for something because of it.
After smoke smell is an issue that brings about strong anti-smoking sentiment and it is justified. If we want to avoid escalating taxes on our cigarettes and personal and professional costs, both social and financial, it is up to those of us who smoke to keep from offending others.
Francine Gail Hemway is a retired teacher and district superintendent. Her first book, Beauty and the Yeast Beast from Fat to Fairy Tale, was a presentation of the theories and methods that led her to lose over 186 pounds without surgery and a program to follow to obtain similar results. Her latest book, The Big, Bad, O the Brutality of Obesity, offers an honest perspective of the state of obesity. She is currently working on two new books about the experience of becoming normal after massive weight loss Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall, and Never, Never. She owns Florida Institute of Mold/Florida Institute of Yeast, and her Optimum Recovery Laboratory has just introduced a line of antifungal and pro-digestive health products. You can contact Francine by going to beautyandtheyeastbeast.com or obesitycounselor.com
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