Sunday, March 8, 2009

Smoking Mad

I spent last weekend in Las Vegas with Alison. We had a great time, saw a couple of good shows (Cirque de Soleil’s Zoomanity and some decent stand-up comedy at the Riviera) and we ate too much. I lost less at blackjack than I had budgeted for. And Alison got to see the spectacle that is Las Vegas for the first time. All in all a great little trip. But it also brought me closer to what I have the least tolerance for: smokers.

In Las Vegas, smoking is allowed inside the casinos. It’s been a while (hmm, I guess 14 months, since my last trip to Vegas…) since I've been exposed to smoke indoors. So we were breathing foul air much of the time we were there.

Look, I understand how wonderful smoking is, how good it makes them feel, how it helps them keep off the weight, and look glamourous. Those aspects are all clear to me. I just don’t like having their excretion blown in my face. And that’s what it is: excretion. We have designated, private rooms for people to deposit their solid and liquid forms of excretion, so why isn’t the gaseous form treated the same way?

Why (and I’m back in Toronto now – the Las Vegas bit was just the hook to introduce the smoking thing) do I have to run the gauntlet of smoke when I enter a place of business, with smokers huddled near its front doors?

Why is it considered acceptable for smokers to toss their butts on the sidewalk? It’s spring now here, the snow has melted, and the piles of cigarette butts rival the revealed dog shit for how disgusting they are (excretion, I say!).

Why is it considered normal behavior for smokers to drive with their window half open, flicking their ashes out to be blown back into the car behind them?

OK, not all smokers are as rude as all this, but a lot of them are. It’s just not OK. And it makes me mad.


  1. You're attacking symptom, unfortunate yes, but a symptom.


    Over and out.

  2. Yo Anonymous,

    Actually, I'm attacking behaviour - behaviour that has a real and significant impact on my life. I can be tolerant of people smoking on their own (though it's true I find it a disgusting, filthy and unredeeming habit promoted by a generally dishonest industry), but not of them blowing smoke in my face, littering the sidewalks and streets of my city, and ejecting burning material our the window of moving vehicles. If smokers want to improve how they are seen by non-smokers, they could work to reduce those behaviours.

    And yes, I also understand that many smokers are addicted to something that is very very difficult to kick.

    Thanks for the comment,

  3. So... if a guy pukes on the sidewalk outside your house, does it make it ok if he's an alcoholic? Or do you have just as much right to get pissed off? I'd vote the latter.

  4. I'd be more understanding if he were ill (and alcoholism is an illness), but I'd still expect him to try to clean it up, unless he was really incapacitated.

  5. I couldn't agree with this post more. Well done John.