Health Ranting

Smoking rant

One of the funniest things I’ve ever read on the blogosphere was Kathryn, who smokes, ranting about non-smokers. Others must have found it amusing too, as it was nominated for the Best Post on an Australian Blog for that year.

But… I hate smoking.

I know the chemicals in tobacco make smoking incredibly addictive for many people. Having seen people I know try (and fail in some cases) to quit, it can obviously be very difficult.

And I know that most people who smoke are genuinely considerate of others when they do so, and try and avoid getting their smoke everywhere.

But it’s still a disgusting smelly filthy dangerous habit.

Inevitably the God damn smoke gets everywhere, fouling up the air on the footpaths. I don’t want the bloody stuff in my lungs.

And omigod the stink. Do smokers have any idea how feckin’ bad their breath smells? No wonder smokers don’t usually date non-smokers. It’s gross, and it’s not just in the vicinity — the smell from a heavy smoker is like an aura. They get into a lift and the whole thing stinks. Everybody within metres gets the whiff.

Even a quick drink in the pub means your clothes and your hair all have to be washed. And al fresco dining is inevitably accompanied by a smoky haze.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it could be contained. How about the smokers put bags over their heads or something, to stop it going everywhere, and spraying air freshener to cover up the smell? (Heath Robinson drew a cartoon portraying this, but I can’t find a copy of it right now.)

But even if they were just giving themselves lung cancer, why should the huge majority (around 77%) of non-smokers subsidise the humungous cost of lung cancer? Pushing smokers down the surgery priority list? Absolutely! Tax the crap out of them? Yes! Taxes on cigarettes don’t come close to paying the costs. (Old figures: revenue A$3.5b, costs A$6b/year; newer figures show up to A$21b/year costs.) Private health insurance charges higher premiums for smokers — maybe the Medicare levy should be higher too.

I know that most smokers do so because their parents smoked. I suppose I’m lucky mine didn’t.

For anybody who’s trying to quit, I honestly wish you the best of luck.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

30 replies on “Smoking rant”

My 18 y.o. nephew took up smoking – about the same time his mother (a smoker) was diagnosed with a lump on her lung. Figure that one out!

In my opinion the worse smokers are those who smoke around kids. If you want to kill yourself, fine, but give your kids a chance. I can’t believe it when I see someone driving along, windows up, smoking away and there are kids, or a baby, in the car with them.

Just last weekend as we were leaving our local cafe there was a family sitting outside with mum smoking. In between drags she held the cigarette away from herself, directly in the face of a young boy who would have been 5 at the most.

Hey Daniel – you might be able to enlighten me about something – I am sure I heard somewhere that as of March last year smoking is banned in the covered areas of tram stops, train stations etc. However I have seen no signage to that effect, no enforcement of the rule by any transport staff and people continuing to smoke in in public outdoor areas where-ever and whenever they like, frequently. Did I just imagine it? or was it just wistful wishful thinking?


why cant anti-smokers just be a little considerate.

it borders on racism.

replace smoker with negro in your rant and read it again.

oh, im a non-smoker (to delay inevitable conclusion jumping).

Kirsten, you didn’t imagine it. There is some signage at stations “No smoking in covered areas”, but it’s woefully inadequate.

Alfred, “Negro”? That makes no sense whatsoever.

There’d be no problem if there was a way of preventing non-smokers from being exposed to it.

I think it’s different from racism. Most people dislike being around smokers when they’re smoking because the passive smoke would hurt them just as much as the smoker. I guess if smoking only affects the smoker directly, I’ll have less of a problem with smoking.

I work in public transport and do not smoke under the shelters, on board or anywhere where I’m not supposed to. The signs relating to no smoking under shelters did get widely distributed but of course by now vandals have removed most of them. I don’t smoke around children or when people are eating HOWEVER, if the option to eat inside or outside at a place is made and you find me lighting up outside, zero sympathy as stated in the blog quote. I don’t have a choice in the matter.

Its legal, we are made to feel like leppas even when we try to do the right thing and move away from the none smokers (whingers). But let us have our last domain( the pubs) for at least a few months before the whole hotel industry comes crushing down around the no smoking in pubs ban.Good bye Pub TAB hello phone account and a 6 pack!

Yeah Steve, the pubs will be interesting. I’m wondering if non-smokers will flood back into them.

It seems an age away that smoking was finally banned in restaurants in Victoria, but it was only about… what.. . 5 years ago?

I think smoking in public should be just as legal as deliberately spraying any other sort of toxic chemical mess.

For some reason Australia has banned the possession of mace and other useful nasties, so spray someone with one of those and you’re in serious trouble. But the stinking crap that smokers spray about is just fine. With the caveat that to be lawful it has to be fresh – if you spray someone with the collected residue you’re also breaking the law.

I suspect it is based on the boiling frog problem – the harm from smoking is gradual and especially the harm to others is so trivial from each exhalation that it’s hard to deal with. But it’s cumulative and irreversable, so it really matters. Like so many other things that slowly chip away at stuff we value. From the destruction of communities (replaced by places that are profitable and easy to drive through) to the ecosystem (how much damage can we do before humans can’t live here any more? Sounds like japanese science… find out how big a number is by killing what you’re counting)

Walking into a shopping centre yesterday on my lunch break I noticed a sign near the door; “No smoking within 5 metres of covered area” Heh. Yeah, that works well, as I walked through at least 3 groups smoking, and they were all under the covered area.

There is an area at my work, just outside the library which is a non-smoking area, as it’s enclosed and the smoke doesn’t dissapate – it flows into the library. Most times I walk through the area, I have to point out the signs to smoking, and most walk away and take their cigarettes elsewhere. A small few completely ignore me!

I’m still amused by the hypocrisy that our governments have with smoking.

One one hand they say it is dangerous and spend millions on quit-smoking advertising and more on medicare to care for smoking-related diseases, yet on the other hand they won’t actually ban or restrict tobacco usage.

I wonder if the reason they don’t ban tobacco could be because they make so much money from the various taxes., nah…., that couldn’t be the reason.., I mean, isn’t the purpose of government to improve the public good ?

Why is it that many not all) smokers seem to do the following when boarding public transport, trains in particular:

-Inhale last drag
-Butt out cigarette
-Step on board vehicle
-Exhale smoky breath once inside previously pollutant free (does B.O. count?) vehicle.

Would it kill them to take a few breaths before getting on?

As for pubs, I doubt a ban on smoking will seriously hurt business. Although, in the media a few weeks ago there was talk of a number of “speak easies” cropping up in Tasmania.

Just got home (Qld) from a week in Sydney. Amazing how quick I’ve gotten used to being smoke ‘free’ in Qld. It was a bit of a shock to smell and see the smoke in the Casino, pubs and restaurants in Sydney when you’ve gotten used to going out, coming home and not smelling like you’ve personally smoked half a dozen packs. While I personally think smokers are getting a raw deal from their government in doing a legal activity, I also appreciate not being forced to be a passive smoker because I choose to go out and socialise.

I was in Britain last month and discovered Scotland smokers coping quite well with the ‘no smoking in pubs’ rule they have had since last April. The pubs were absolutely fantastic (and packed!!) and about a third of the clientele just disappeared outside for a few minutes every hour. As an ex heavy smoker, I can say it’s cutting down on their intake when out socialising. Once we got down to England, we were shocked at the first pub we went into – no smoking rules there. Even worse was Holland, where there are no rules AND everybody chain smokes. Gonna take awhile to convert the Dutch, I think.

yes all smokers must be converted, they must believe in our god or we will organise to have them removed from society.

seriously the zealotry of anti-smokers is amazing.

you breathe in more noxious fumes from car exhausts.

the lack of tolerance of anti-smokers is disgusting.

Alfred: Any time you want to provide some actual evidence for your assertions, feel free.

Sorry, but no, I have little tolerance for people who blow poisonous smoke in my face.

Alfred’s motivation disturbs me: if he is, as he claims, a non-smoker, why should it bother him how those who smoke are perceived and treated by society? After all, no-one ever held a gun to your average smoker’s head and forced them to take up the habit.
I don’t consider myself unique, but i have friends who smoke: none of them ever go on with the crap Alfred is spouting. Too much time Alfred E get a life.

it’s all about tolerance.

anti-smokers who rail against smokers are very intolerant.

live and let live i say. if smokers choose to smoke (and its not like they dont know it will kill them) then let them.

that’s all im saying.

Alfred why shouldn’t we rail when they are jeopardising our health? If an unwashed, unpleasant-smelling individual took the seat next to you on the train would you tolerate that?
Do you tolerate cigarette butts all over the footpath or clogging up the rubbish receptacle? If you suffered respiratory problems would you tolerate a smoker lighting up in the open air within a metre of you? How about the child whose parents smoke in the house. Why should we tolerate that? See it’s not just adults non-smokers represent – it’s those too young to be able to voice their own opinion.
Fortunately there are very few ignorant smokers. They are the ones I get zealous about. And so should you.

paul you just explained what intolerance *is*. if you want total isolation from life, move to the country and become a hermit.

daniel – thanks fort the chart on emissions, it clearly shows that transport emissions are greater than cigarette emissions. in fact i dont see cigarette smoke ANYWHERE on that chart.

the chipping away of peoples rights EVEN IF they are smokers, is the thing which disturbs me the most, and why i will defend their rights.

what next – banning heavy cologne users ?

until they come for you, you are happy for persecution to occur.

I used to smoke. I grew up in a household where one parent constantly smoked. Most of my relatives smoke. I managed to quit eight years ago for my health and domestic harmony with my loved one. Now I cannot stand being anywhere near a smoker – a breath of cigarette smoke makes me feel physically ill.

I hate walking down the enclosed ramp of my train station in a crush of people and the inconsiderate bastard in front of me lights up. Same on the street. If you’re in a crush of people, DON’T LIGHT UP. Wait until there’s room to move away or let others move away from you first.

By all means smoke, I don’t care one way or another – it’s your coffin – but have some consderation for the growing number of non-smokers around you. You might be out in the open, but on a still day with no wind or breeze to take the smoke away quickly, it hangs in the air and I don’t enjoy getting a face full of it.

“the lack of tolerance of non-smokers is disgusting”

This is what i find particularly disgusting about your attitude Alfred E: you have no problem whatsoever disregarding the fact that non-smokers are passively affected by the insidious chemicals in the smoke. Smoke exhaled by the poor smokers you persist in believing have been vicitmised. I wish you enlightenment. And pray that your sheltered life never subjects you to having someone close suffer and die from cancer as a result of exposure to cigarette smoke.

“if you want total isolation from life, move to the country and become a hermit.”

So it’s a crime now to look out for our own well being not to mention the planet? fine! as you’re so happy with litter we can all dump our refuse on your front garden then?

Please remember Alfred – I have no objection to people smoking, gambling, drinking… the moment they impinge upon MY RIGHT to enjoy MY LIFE though is when there is an issue. If I’m not doing anything wrong, why should I worry about being persecuted?

so lets ban smoking, but not cigarettes ?

all sorts of things cause cancer. that big mac you chow down on 3 times a week for example.

lets ban crap food, and what about banning crap lifestyles. lets ban everything. ban choice.

i think the whinging about ‘passive smoking’ from people who CHOOSE to go into a pub or whatever is a bit rich.

go to a non-smoking pub. oh wait – they all are now. lets look around and see if we can force our beliefs on someone else hey i see a muslim over there.

im amazed at the lack of tolerance from people over this issue.

The beauty of living in a democracy Alfred. No-one is being denied their right to smoke. You have the right to your opinion. Good luck with your crusade.


Smoking is dangerous to those that smoke and those closest to them but I think excessive drinking is a far worse problem. Anyone see last weeks 4 Corners on ABC? I’m an ex-smoker & drinker and come from a family where both of these things were abused, alcohol did far more damage so far I can report. Our hospital’s emergency departments/doctors & specailists rooms are full of people sick & injured that can be directly/indirectly related to over consumption of alcohol. I live in Alice Springs and see it’s effect 1st hand on not only on our indigenous friends but non-indigenous people(it just hidden better). It’s a far bigger sickness than smoking & SOOOO acceptable I mean look at all the kiddie coloured alcholic lolly waters you can buy these days. It makes me physically sick to see how much brands of whiskey, beer and UDL’s are rammed into our subconcious. How their brands are plastered all over everything and how many people suffer greatly from this crap especailly kids. Rant over.

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