I understand addiction, God knows. I've been addicted to food for almost my entire life. Every day, every moment requires that I make good decisions because the I have an addiction that I can't leave behind.
Smokers, ultimately, don't need to smoke. Alcoholics, ultimately, don't need to drink. Heroin addicts, ultimately, don't need to shoot up. But food addicts, ultimately, have to eat. Every. Single. Day. It's not an all-or nothing proposition for us. We need to call upon our willpower every day in a world full of temptation.
But smoking. We all know how horribly, horribly bad it is, not just for the smokers but for everyone breathing the same smoke-filled air.
Tonight I met up with work pals and while Chicago is banning smoking in bars and restaurants, the ban is being phased in while cigarettes and cigars are being phased out, so every so often, I would get, literally, a face full of smoke coming from the guy at the next table. Ugh.
"Can you handle it?" Kelley asked. I'd previously told her that I can't abide smoky places.
"Sure," I said. "I'll probably die of lung cancer tomorrow, but I'll get through tonight."
Now, home, my hair reeks, my clothes reek, my eyes still burn.
So tell me: What's the appeal of sucking hot smoke into your lungs, of methodically upping your odds, with every drag, that you're going to die from lung cancer?
I tried smoking when I was younger. I could never get the hang of it. I'd try to inhale and start coughing and gagging. I thought people who smoked looked cool. Now, I think they look ridiculous.
I have friends who smoke, friends who smoke who read this blog. And now they know how I feel. Yes, it's hard to kick an addiction, but it's not just you you're killing, it's all of us.
When I hear smokers whine about no-smoking restrictions, I scoff. Yep, you have a right to engage in self-destructive behavior, but you don't have a right to contaminate the air the rest of us breathe. You want to smoke? Fine. Smoke in your homes. Smoke in your cars. Leave me out of it.