Where there's smoke... - FamilyEducation

Where there's smoke...

March 11,2008
Skaddadle
Todd Lieman
Before anybody confuses me with some kind of activist – I’m not. I tend to think people have the right to do whatever they want to themselves. Pro athletes wanna take steroids? Go right ahead. You wanna cover yourself in ink? Have at it. You love smoking? Puff away. That doesn’t mean I understand these things.

Yesterday, however, I was floored to see a mom climb out of her car closely followed by her daughter, who was engulfed in a cloud of smoke from her mom’s cigarette. No judgment being made on whether or not the mom should be smoking, but why smoke in front of your kid? I GUARANTEE that mom would hate for her daughter to smoke – so, why set that example?

I know I’m setting myself up as the word’s biggest hypocrite. Can’t the same argument be made for drinking? G and I drink wine with dinner and K-Man even likes to smell the reds. Where do we draw the line? Is it fair to be amazed by this mom smoking in front of her daughter, but ignore the fact that I drink in front of my son?

I do think there’s a fairly huge difference. For starters, every glass of wine that I drink (and do note that I may have three glasses a week – on a crazy week) doesn’t take minutes off my life like a cigarette can. And, there’s no such thing as secondary alcohol. K-Man’s health isn’t affected or sacrificed with my drinking a glass of wine. This woman’s daughter was inhaling more secondary smoke than most factory workers.

The truth is that I’m actually still relatively amazed that people smoke at all. It’s not like there’s any secret to the fact that smoking cigarettes can and will kill you. (Yes, there’s probably a 110-year old who is strong as an ox that started smoking at age three and has had 12 packs a day for 107 years. But, I’m guessing that might be rare.)

I guess my point is why smoke the things around your kids? Or MY kid? I remember taking K-Man to the a local museum, and there was a dad puffing away on two cigarettes (I kid you not) right outside the main entrance. Hundreds of kids and families are filing in and out of the place and this dude, with his toddler at his side, is busy taking minutes off of the time he’ll have to spend with his son. A number of us asked him if he minded moving away from the door, but he aggressively stood his ground.

What’s the point? If your need to get all bent out of shape and hold some kind of personal civil disobedience protest by blowing smoke in the faces of little kids outweighs common courtesy and common sense – well, maybe that’s all the proof you need that you’re addicted to something that’s not too pleasant. And, if you need to smoke to get through your day as a parent…well, that’s another story altogether, isn’t it?

Look, I’m no saint, but I can honestly say that I’ve never smoked a cigarette. Yes, I’ll have the occasional cigar, but never around K-Man and certainly never around other people’s children. In fact, I only smoke them in (more or less) private settings – with my father-in-law or on a golf course. That’s basically it. (And, again – we’re talking a four or five…MAYBE…per YEAR.)

There are any number of things that will ultimately kill us: the way we eat, the way we drive, what we drink and who knows what else. Maybe I just don’t understand the allure of smoking. Maybe I’ve just never experienced the euphoric elation that comes with destroying my teeth, mouth, lungs and other internal organs, while simultaneously making my clothes reek. Sounds fun.

Go ahead and enjoy your smokes. Please, PLEASE…just don’t do it around my kid. (And, if you love yours…don’t smoke around yours, either.)