Lately, I find myself being passionate about a lot of things and among them is asserting some of my rights. I try to teach my children the same thing and I demonstrated this yesterday by telling the man who sat next to us in the park that his smoke was bothering us. But the man only arrogantly retorted, “Open space ‘to, Ate (This is an open space, Miss),” as he pointed to the sky with his hand holding a cigarette. So this was what I told him in reply:
“Yes this is an open space, but it is also a PUBLIC PLACE. This is a PARK, and there are CHILDREN here.”
I pointed to the children around me, including my own, as I was so convinced that this man was not only undisciplined and insensitive, but may also have a poor eyesight since he did not seem to notice his surroundings, including the children near him. I waited for him and his girlfriend to say another word, but the latter only motioned to her companion to just leave.
Although they did the right thing to just leave us in peace, that is, I was left feeling angry and hungry for a confrontation. I felt so indignant that instead of apologizing, he would arrogantly speak to me as if I were the one in the wrong place. Aren’t parks created for those who would like to relax and breathe fresh-er air? So why are such people around to pollute the environment and bother those who are trying to relax? Sure, it’s an open space, but a public place nonetheless. And so I couldn’t believe that someone like him exists, unaware that smoking in public places are now prohibited. Ignorantia juris non excusat. Should every inch of public space have a sign that read: “No Smoking” just to keep him and others like him away? Really, if there’s a sign that explicitly says he could smoke there, then by all means, I would’ve kept my mouth shut and be the one to leave even if I got there first.
Honestly, I would love to see all those insensitive smokers locked up in one room and have them inhale their own smoke. I wonder if they’d be very happy to do that and how long they’d last! Didn’t they even care that the person near them, inhaling their smoke, might be asthmatic or has sinusitis? Don’t they have any idea how suffocating it is to inhale their abominable smoke, especially for those suffering from such conditions like myself (and my children)? I don’t think those caught smoking in public places or non-smoking areas should just pay the fine and be free again to smoke whenever and wherever they want. They should be locked up for an hour or so in a windowless room and have them experience what it’s like to breathe (in) their own smoke as well as those coming from other smokers.
My father has often wondered how I could possibly smell his smoke when he’s in the garage while I’m in the farthest part of the house away from him, inside my room. Believe me, I have a super-bionic nose, especially when it comes to things that could trigger my sinusitis: smoke–both coming from cigarettes and vehicles–and strong perfumes or odors. I had come to hate my father’s smoking when an ENT doctor accurately diagnosed that my non-stop colds were actually symptoms of sinusitis, triggered by the chain of smoke my father would carelessly exhale in our living room when I was young.
Since then, I became very conscious of this bad air that made me miserable for so many years. (Imagine what’s it’s like not to be able to use your nose except for secreting mucus.) My father became conscious of my health condition too, and after so many years, finally stopped smoking. Totally. Sure, it was a gradual process, but he proved that a chain smoker can stop his bad habit if he has the will and at least half the wit to consider the health of the people around him as well as the environment.
It wasn’t until we all learned of my mother’s battle with cancer stage 4, however, that my father started smoking again. Apparently, it became one of his stress relievers. Nevertheless, whenever I or my children are around, he simply would not do it, if not go to an area where he could smoke freely and away from us. (So yes, he can still control the urge and be selfless enough.)
I have friends who smoke, too. However, they would also go away if they want to do it, if not be very careful that I would not be in the position where the wind would bring the smoke directly to my face.
So why can’t some smokers be sensitive enough? Sure, they have a right to smoke, but they must never forget that the people around them also have a right to clean air. Smoke by all means, Mr./Ms. Smoker, but please be sure not to bother anyone with your smoke, entiende? Besides, if you can afford to buy a cigarette, then don’t you think you should also be able to afford to go to those restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that provide smoking areas? Otherwise, just stay in your own room and smoke there with your windows and door closed, ensuring that you wouldn’t bother anybody or pollute the air with your toxin, especially if you can’t stand having someone ask you not to smoke.