Protecting Your Family While in Public Places

"We have an industry that for 40 years sold a product that was deadly, and said it wasn't, and sold a product that was addictive, and said it wasn't. And now they want to be granted immunity. I think that's wrong."

C. Everett Koop, M.D.
Former U.S. Surgeon General
Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

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 worse.

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 of life.

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.


InfoImagination © 2000 -- All Rights Reserved