I am a former cigarette smoker…for now. Who knows what the future holds? I’ve relapsed before. I may again. But for right now, the smell of cigarette smoke makes me nauseous, and despite the fact that I was a social smoker, I don’t even crave cigarettes when I’m around smoking smokers, so a former smoker I must be.
Being a former smoker, I have all sorts of opinions about smokers, and the rights of smokers, and the rights of nonsmokers, and just about every cigarette-smoke-related issue you can imagine. And because I was a smoker, and for a while, I was a nonsmoker who didn’t mind being smoked around, I even feel justified in some of them.
My parents were smokers. My dad quit when I was a kid, but my mom still smokes, choosing to roll her own in a market that has jacked the price of pre-rolled smokes up to $15 a pack in some cities.
(For reference, when I left Virginia in 1999, a pack of Marlboro lights cost $1.98. By the time I quit for the first time in 2002, a pack of Newport 100s — I’ve changed my brand a lot — cost $4.25. When I started up again in 2008, pretty much all name brands were up to $7.00. Today, they’re $9-13 in my area, depending on the brand and where you buy them. The last time I looked into it, only a third of that cost was the cigarettes themselves, and only a fraction more of that was the tobacco company’s profit margin. The rest is taxes.)
Something I always admired about my parents (though I didn’t always understand it) was that they were polite smokers…with everyone but us kids. What I mean by that is that even after finding out about the dangers of secondhand smoke, our parents smoked around my sister and me, but they never smoked around anyone else without first asking if it would bother the people they were near. Especially the children of people they didn’t know. Sometimes, depending on who the person was, my mother would even ask if it would bother a nonsmoking visitor if she lit up in our own home. And when she was outside, she always, always stepped away from doorways, walkways, and unknown vehicles so her smoke didn’t bother any nonsmokers that might have to pass by. Read more »