It is important to remember that smokers have either
come to the false conclusion that smoking isn't that bad for them (or other
people) or they are unable to control their addiction to nicotine. Either
way, they generally do not understand the discomfort, irritation and health
problems that their tobacco addiction brings to others.
While many nonsmokers become impatient and angry with smokers, we must
realize that most smokers are victims. The tobacco companies, together forming
a billion dollar indsutry, hires top market researchers, scientists and
other professionals to influence the buying habits of potential consumers.
Further, they pick on the weakest members of our society. Remember that
that most smokers began smoking around 13-14 years of age. Many of these
naive individuals have lower self-esteem, suffer social problems or come
from less-stable home environments.
Therefore, be firm but understanding with smokers. Due to their addiction,
they have lost track of reality. They wheeze, cough and spit up phlem as
they are slowly killing themselves. Shortly after finishing their last cigarette
their body begins demanding another. They no longer taste food as they used
to; they cannot run or be athletic as they once could; and in general, they
are a slave to this nasty habit.
How Smoking Affects You
Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 substances. Many of these are dangerous poisons
and can cause cancer. Anyone exposed to second-hand smoke inhales these
substances. Lung disease, including lung cancer, is the third leading cause
of death in the United States.
If you have asthma, second-hand smoke can make your breathing problmes
Young children are especially sensitive to second-hand smoke. A baby
who is exposed to second-hand smoke is more likely to have lung disease
serious enough to need treatment in a hospital dunging the first two years
Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to cough
and wheeze and to have middle ear problems.
What You Can Do
Patronize restaurants and other businesses that are smoke-free. Let them know that a smoke-free
environment is an important reason that you give them your business.
Do not shop, eat or patronize those establishments that do not support
a smoke-free environment. Send a written letter to the business telling
them why you do not frequent their business.
Make sure that your family's facilities, such as the day care, preschool,
school and after school programs are smoke-free as well.
Don't be shy about informing smokers that their smoking bother you. Remember
to be firm, but friendly.
Work to create stronger nonsmoking laws. Write letters to your local
newspaper and to local public officials. Remember that you are part of a
large majority of nonsmokers. While smoking still presents a huge health
epidemic, less than 30% of Americans, on average, are still tobacco addicts.
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