Showing posts with label smoking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smoking. Show all posts

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cough, Cough

Indigo's (That's My Answer) question yesterday turned out to be a timely one: "What is your opinion on smoking bans? Does your city enforce no smoking in public buildings and restaurants?"

Davis may have been the first (if not "the" first, then certainly one of the first) cities in the country to establish and enforce a smoking ban 10 feet in front of the door of any business (as well as in public buildings).

As a non-smoker, I appreciate the ban. I understand that they recently started enforcing such a ban in the UK, which I appreciate since pubs were always such smoky places whenever I was there and you forget how nice it is to be in a smoke-free environment until you enter a smoke-filled room again.

That said, I have good friends who are still smokers, and so I appreciate the difficulty that a smoking ban puts on them.

I don't know how Peggy does it. She's a smoker but she never smoked in the house when she was here (which was very considerate of her), but not only that, her own home did not smell of cigarette smoke, nor did she smell of cigarette smoke. She always smoked either outside or by an open window.

I said that this was a "timely question" because I have just come from Cousins Day where the effects of smoking are all too painfully evident. Kathy was a very heavy smoker and is now paying the price. She suffers from COPD and carries oxygen and several types of inhalers and medication with her. Some days are better than others. Mornings are always the worst and sometimes she can hardly breathe until she hooks up to her oxygen tank. Yesterday she was surprisingly good during the day, but when we all got up in the morning, it was difficult for her to get moving and her cough always sounds so awful.

Two of her grandchildren came to visit her over Thanksgiving and asked her about the oxygen and she used it as an object lesson of what can happen if you smoke. Their mother thanked her for sharing that information in a way that made a much greater impact than it would have if she (the mother), a non-smoker, had warned them of the dangers of smoking.

I feel very fortunate that I never smoked. I am paying the price of a lifetime of overeating, but that's another story. My mother smoked until she was pregnant with me and then didn't smoke, though my father was a heavy smoker all of his life.

I come from a long line of smokers and that same long line is filled with deaths by lung cancer and emphysema. When my aunt Marge (Peach's mother) was in the hospital, dying of lung cancer, my mother and my aunt Betsy would go to visit her. Betsy would step out for a smoke and my mother would ask "How can you still smoke when you see what Marge is going through?" Betsy, the free spirit of the family, shrugged it off, saying that everyone needed to die of something.

A year later, when Betsy herself was dying of lung cancer, she admitted that it hadn't been worth it. Several years later, her daugher (our cousin Shirley) also died of lung cancer.

There are lung problems on Walt's side of the family too, with an uncle who died of emphysema (a smoker).

When our kids were little, they were adamant anti-smokers and gave Walt's brother and any foreign students who stayed with us a terrible time for smoking. But as they got older, their attitudes changed When they were teens, I gave them the cigarette lecture. I told them that some people could smoke without it affecting them, but that when they looked at the history of fatal lung diseases on both sides of the family (and on my side, both my mother's family and my father's family have lung problems), then it would be just plain stupid for them to develop the habit.

But they did. Smoking and rock'n'roll just go together, I guess. I honestly don't know if Ned or Tom smoke now. I don't think they do--at least I haven't seen either of them smoking in years (and I don't know if Tom ever smoked, but I know Ned, Paul and David did. Did Jeri know better? :) )

That I don't have lung problems is fortunate. No, I never smoked, but I lived with a heavy smoker for all of my growing up years and they say that second hand smoke is as dangerous, if not more dangerous than smoking yourself. But so far I've dodged that bullet.

And yes, I am in favor of a ban on smoking in public. I know it must be a terrible inconvenience for smokers, but it's just as terrible an inconvenience for non-smokers to have smoke blowing into their faces or to be in a place where they are forced to breathe smoke, and if you have to weigh the pros and cons of each inconvenience, it's better to side with the non-toxic choice than the toxic one, I believe!