Volume 92, Issue 16

Wednesday, September 30, 1998

welcome... now leave


Mind your own health

The other day I was standing outside the University Community Centre, lost in my thoughts while enjoying a cigarette on one of my brief breaks from work, when a stranger approached.

"Don't you know that's bad for you? It'll kill you," she said.

Something puzzles me every time one of these people on their high and ever-so-mighty pedestal, voice this type of comment. While I'm sure this person is in perfect health and has never done anything unhealthy in her life, I wonder what kind of answer she was expecting.

Maybe "oh, no I didn't know that. Thanks for telling me, I'm quitting right now." Or "yes, I know. I'm a terrible, terrible person for smoking. Please shun me from the high society you belong to because I deserve no part in it."

Before I took a drag of my very first cigarette I knew full well it was bad for me and with every puff to this day I'm aware of the fact that I'm polluting my lungs and harming my health.

Why don't I quit? Because I enjoy smoking.

I enjoy pausing for a moment from my day and just standing there, relaxed. I don't think I'm cool because I smoke and I regret that I started and I won't be smoking when my first child arrives.

I was tempted to ask that person if they'd ever thought of that same question while they were jaywalking across Richmond Street with cars zipping past them at 80 kilometres per hour. Or while they were out at the Ceeps having a few beers with some friends and having some good clean, healthy fun. Or how about that burger at dinner the other night? Get the point?

I don't know why this person believes they are holier than thou and they are of such great health they can go around criticizing others. I also wonder what makes this person think my health is any of their concern.

I'll quit when I see fit and I won't smoke for the rest of my life, but I don't need someone to tell me I should quit.

Until you only eat tofu and protein supplements and live in an isolation tent, don't talk to me about smoking. Nobody's perfect.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998