There is a father I see every morning walking his 8-year-old son to school. And every day, he’s holding his son’s hand a block or so away from the elementary, and smoking at the same time. Every single day. It’s all I can do to not stop the car and ask him if he can just wait until he has dropped his son off, and all drop off kid traffic is gone, to enjoy his damn cigarette.
His child doesn’t have a choice — he needs to be walked to school with an adult. And every kid that passes that father in a car or bus watches him acting all nonchalant, walking down the road sucking back a cig, and blowing the smoke like it’s not affecting those around him.
Now, let me be clear: Smoking does not make you a bad person, or a bad parent. We all understand that some people like to smoke. It’s a hard habit to break, and as a human being, it’s everyone’s right to make that decision for themselves.
But don’t do it around your kids. And, don’t do it around my kids either.
In fact, don’t do it around anyone who isn’t totally okay with inhaling second-hand smoke and smelling like an ashtray.
When you’re enjoying a drink at the end of the day, do you slip a little in your kid’s mouth? No.
If you fancy indulging in weed gummies, would you pass them out to the neighborhood children? Of course not.
That’s because doing so would be putting them in danger — not to mention incredibly irresponsible and stupid. Well, smoking around those who are breathing the same air is no different. Not only can second-hand smoke cause health problems for both children and adults, but third-hand smoke — the residual nicotine and other chemicals that stays on clothing and other surfaces after someone smokes — is also dangerous.
You would think it’s common sense not to smoke in front of a grocery store, hospital, or any other public place, especially a place where young children are present and literally breathing in the poison that is being blown out.
But apparently some people have not gotten the memo.
Not only are the health risks for others a huge reason to hide your smoking habit, but an article published by The Toronto Star makes another valid point: When kids see adults smoking, “it ‘normalizes’ this behaviour to kids.” We can teach and tell our kids the dangers of smoking, but some of that may be erased when they see people engaging in something that is dangerous.
Yes, it’s your right to smoke, but don’t be a dick about it. There are designated areas all over the place for people to smoke, and they are meant to be used. I’ve seen them behind our local grocery store, at car dealerships, and restaurants. Go to the back of the building where there is no foot traffic, or get in your car and take a drive (just as long as you don’t smoke with your kids in the car).
It’s up to you. Just don’t make other people (especially children) suffer the consequences for your actions.
We’re trying to raise educated kids who know the dangers of smoking, while protecting their little bodies from its harmful effects as well. So yes, you can go ahead and smoke. But if you are going to blow smoke near us, don’t be alarmed if a parent tells you to GTFO.
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