About Our Lungs, Not Yours
reading your recently published article, and many others like
it in other publications, I keep finding that smokers seem
to miss the point of New York stateís newly enacted Clean
Indoor Air Act [ďAnd Theyíre Out,Ē July 31]. The point of
the ban is not to make them quit smoking, although that certainly
would be best for their own health. The point is that I, as
a nonsmoker, no longer have to be exposed to their secondhand
smoke. In the long term, secondhand smoke can cause illness
and death in nonsmokers.
the short term, Iím now free to go to the track or to a bar
or restaurant or any other public space and not have to come
home with eyes that sting, nasal and chest congestion and
clothes and a vehicle that reek of someone elseís cigarettes.
Even as a nonsmoker, I used to be willing to put up with this
for the sake of a social life, until I became pregnant.
Itís difficult enough to get out when youíre pregnant, what
with morning sickness, swollen ankles and general tiredness,
but on nights when I wasnít plagued with those typical complaints,
there were so many times that my husband and I wanted to go
see a local band or had friends invite us to hang out with
them at a local bar where I just couldnít go. I stayed at
home nights for months, because, while I was free to choose
not to drink, there was no way I could avoid exposure to secondhand
smoke in the places that we wanted to go. My husband needed
some social life and so chose to get out of the house periodically
to hang out in smoky bars with his smoking friends. The resultómy
husband was an ex-smoker, but it was too difficult to be around
other smokers. He started up again and has since been struggling
on and off to quit.
I love the new law. Iím thrilled that we can go out again.
Iím thrilled that when I actually get an evening out I donít
have to come home and expose my 6-month-old baby to these
noxious fumes, which by the way are one of the key risks associated
with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Iím hopeful that now that
smoking is no longer allowed in his favorite hangouts, my
husband can still see his friends while working yet again
to kick this deadly habit so that he can be around to watch
our baby grow to a ripe old age herself. And if either of
us chose to seek employment at any of these establishments,
we could do so knowing that we didnít have to put our own
health at risk because of othersí deadly habits.
Again, smokers just donít seem to get it. Itís not about making
the 25 percent of folks who smoke quitóitís about protecting
the 75 percent of us who donít smoke from the deadly side
effects of their addiction.
So you smokers can smoke íem if youíve got íemóbut thanks
to New York state, I no longer have to share in the experience
reading your ďBest of the Capital Region 2003Ē issue [July
17] and thinking that what I really want to know is best dentist,
plastic surgeon, internist, dermatologist, gynecologist, Pilates
instructor, yoga instructor, blah, blah, blah. . . . You know,
the important stuff.
What I see, in the Readersí Poll, under Best Village Idiot,
is the name of my friend. Politicians and celebrities expect
to be razzed, and I love to see that happen, but do you ever
consider that someone nominated for such an insulting distinction
might be vulnerable and unnecessarily hurt by it? Whatís your
Our intent was not to hurt, but merely to entertain. We hoped
that in publishing a large sample of responsesó20, in this
caseóreaders would understand the random and subjective nature
of other readersí nominees, and not take them too seriously.
We apologize to anyone who was hurt or insulted by their inclusion
in this category.
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