Second – as I was walking to work today a guy passing me shouted in my ear “those things will give you cancer!”. When the yelling started I shut my ears so to speak, as I thought it was a crazy person. He had passed me by the time I’d realized what he’d said. I was sorely tempted to follow him and give him a piece of my mind.
“Really? Cancer? I had no idea! That must be what these pretty pictures of blackened lungs on the package are all about. And here I thought it was art noveau.”
“Well I thought about quitting but that makes me eat more, and then I’ll get colon cancer from the chips and white bread I’d stuff my face with. But I guess I could avoid that if I want to be safe from all cancers. I mean why pick one. Ooooh, then I’ll stop using anti-prespirant and drinking tea because the aluminum content will probably give me Alzheimers.”
Now I’m not a smoking crusader who is proud and plans to be a life-long smoker nor am I ashamed and castigating myself over it. I smoke. It’s a vice that I choose to partake of for the time being. Much like beer, fish ‘n’ chips, and Justin Timberlake’s songs. I know they’re bad for me but – I don’t care. I think we’re all aware of the dangers and there is no need to be shouting in my ear. Unless you’re living in a bubble then you’re probably doing something that may give you cancer too. It reminds me of this guy I knew in high school. He’d harp on me for smoking as he lit up a huge doobie and poured himself a whiskey.
As for getting people not to start in the first place, I think we need to focus on the more ignored effects of smoking. If you tell a 16 year old girl that smoking causes cancer she’ll shrug and say ’whatever’. Or ‘meh’. That seems to be popular with the kiddies these days. But if you tell her that she’ll be broke, have brittle hair, weak fingernails, yellow teeth and her clothes will reek, it may give her pause. Those are things that are definite when one smokes and they don’t take that long to manifest. Cancer seems so impossible to most young people; I think they dismiss it. I know I did. Well to be honest I probably still do.
update* Connie wrote a lovely post in response to mine. She got me thinking and i'll share part of the comment i left on her blog:
"it annoys me when i'm following all the rules (ie - going outside w/out a complaint, not forcing anyone along) and i STILL get hassled. everyone has their vices but it's trendy to bash smokers now. what an ass that guy was. he's probably a coke-head. I hear that’s in right now."