Volume 92, Issue 16

Wednesday, September 30, 1998

welcome... now leave


Talkin' bout moderation

Smoking is definitely cool.

Who wouldn't like to have the stale odor of tobacco surround them wherever they go, permanently attached to all of their belongings?

Of course, this is the typical rhetoric used by anti-smoking proponents. Everyone knows smoking stinks – especially those who do it. The issue is having a smoking addiction has become such a common occurrence in everyday life that no one gives it a second thought, until someone complains second-hand smoke is bothering them.

And they have a right to complain. Statistics have shown second-hand smoke is more deadly than smoking itself. Maybe that doesn't mean much to smokers who retort that non-smokers can just walk away from the smoke. But think about how much time you spend in the smoky haze of bars and coffee shops throughout your life. It adds up quicker than you think. Why shouldn't you complain if you end up with lung cancer while your best friend who has smoked for a lifetime lives to be 80?

And the smokers who whine about the people who complain should realize that the issue is much more complicated.

A smoking habit is based primarily on nicotine addiction. A drinking habit is based primarily on alcohol addiction. A drug habit is based primarily on drug addiction. All three can be social – there's nothing really wrong with them in moderation.

If someone you knew had a drug problem or was an alcoholic, you'd be right to be concerned and consequently address the issue with them. For some reason, it's socially unacceptable to make a comment to someone who has a smoking problem.

Understandably, the nagging is probably irritating. But you can't say the problem only affects you and is therefore your own business. Like all addictions, it affects you and the lives of the people around you – namely your family and friends who must be constantly surrounded by smoke.

The person doing the nagging is only doing it for a reason. Either they don't want to die or they don't want you to.

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998