I am warning my readers ahead of time, this is a post written in anger and frustration. As a result I may not be as diplomatic in my writing as I am on a normal day. Today’s angry rant is about common decency and respecting other people.
Yesterday my husband, daughter, and I decided to go to an early Independence Day fireworks display near our home. It was a big event; they had a fair with carnival rides, petting zoo, music, games, food, the works! We faced the massive traffic, and parking nightmare. We got there at 8pm two hours before the fireworks were going to start. We walked around the carnival enjoying the sights and sounds. I love the feeling of a carnival; it always brings a smile to my face. Hearing the screams of joy and excitement from the people on the rides. The smell of fried foods and fresh cotton candy. Watching the carnival games and people winning prizes. We didn’t stay long in the carnival because our daughter is only three and cannot fully enjoy it yet. We found a quiet spot and set down our blanket, took off our shoes, and waited for the fireworks to start. I had cut up a wonderful watermelon, one of our favorite summer foods. We also had chips to munch on.
Within a few minutes our quiet little oasis was soon disrupted by a group of raggedy individuals who decided to sit right near us. They soon pulled out their liquor and their cigarettes and started to drink and smoke no more than five feet from where we sat. I tried to ignore this intrusion! I really did try. The language got rough and they started to cuss loudly and I knew it was not going to get better. So we packed up our stuff and walked around trying to find a new place to sit. We found a large seating area on the baseball field.
It seemed so nice and peaceful. It was fenced in and kids were running around playing free. It was all families inside the area. Which was an improvement over the last place we sat. So we again found a nice little spot and put down our blankets and took off our shoes and brought out the snacks. It was great at first! A few people had put up small hot air balloons that used a candle that filled the sack with hot air and caused the balloon to ascend into the sky! Nasreen got so excited to see these hot air balloons float high in the sky. I explained to her the science behind them. How hot air is lighter then cold air and makes the balloons rise She loved it!
As we sat waiting for the fireworks I looked around at the people sitting near us. It was a large field and many families were playing with their kids and eating. I noticed something then! Many of the families were smoking, most of them smoking right near their small kids! I even saw one lady literally smoking while breast feeding and then dropping ash on her infants face! I was so disgusted! I smelled the cigarettes all around me. My husband started to cough, he is very sensitive to the smell. We looked at each other and we knew we had to move. So we picked up our stuff and we tried to find a place where people were not smoking! We moved to three more spots and everywhere around us was the toxic smell of cigarettes. We are really not that demanding. I just wanted a nice place to watch the fireworks free from toxic fumes!
In California there are laws that govern public smoking! It is not legal or socially acceptable to smoke in public around non-smokers! In Michigan no such laws exists! The question I have is where the common decency? I have nothing against smokers. I don’t see them as bad people. I just do not want their smoke in my lungs! I don’t smoke for a reason! Why didn’t these people get up and walk to an isolated place and have their smoke. Why do they have chain smoke around families and kids. It made me so mad and disgusted! Finally I packed up my stuff one last time and angrily walked back to our car. By that time it was 9:45 and the fireworks were supposed to start any time. I was so upset and angry. I wished I had been more direct with these people but there were so many people smoking and I was outnumbered and had no laws to defend my opinion.
We got back to our car and I was so ready to just go home, but Nasreen our daughter was so excited to see the fireworks. We were not far from the location so we decided to wait and watch them there from the parking lot. As we waited there was a seemingly wholesome family with three kids all matching red,white, and blue outfits. They were playing with sparkler’s. They offered Nasreen some sparklers but she just wanted to watch. We got to talking with the mom and dad of the kids about the weather and such, and not two feet from us they lit up their cigarettes! They didn’t excuse themselves away from the group or anything. They just lit up and blew out their smoke in our direction while they talked to us!
So we quietly walked away and spent the next half hour dodging cigarette smoke in the parking lot. I was passed the point of getting mad; I just wanted my daughter to see the darn fireworks!
Finally the fireworks started 20 minutes late, and they were beautiful! They lasted 30 minutes and were spectacular. Nasreen loved them!
I want to say that the fireworks made up for all the frustration and anger I felt! It honestly didn’t, and that is why I am writing an article!
Was I asking too much! I mean honestly am I being too dramatic? Should I have stayed on the grass surrounded by smoke? Is it asking people too much to walk away from the group to smoke?
My daughter did not know what was going on, and why we kept moving. She did not know that we were trying to keep her lungs free from second hand smoke. She does not know negative consequences of inhaling second hand.
According to the CDC
“In children, secondhand smoke causes, Ear infections, More frequent and severe asthma attacks, Respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath), respiratory infections (i.e., bronchitis, pneumonia) A greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) In U.S. children aged 18 months or younger, secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for an estimated 150,000–300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia annually and approximately 7,500–15,000 hospitalizations annually.”
Breathing in second hand smoke is actually more toxic than actually smoking. The smoke that burns off the end of a cigarette or cigar actually contains more harmful substances than the smoke inhaled by the smoker! The smoker consumes the smoke through a filter in the cigarette, while the people around them get the smoke straight and unfiltered.
My daughter did not know any of this, but I do, and it is my job to protect my child. So I ask again where is the common courtesy!!!! In the future I will be more assertive with people who act this rudely! These people ruined my evening!
How do my readers feel about the issues I have brought up?
Do you feel it is common courtesy to walk away from a group when smoking a cigarette?
Am I being dramatic?
Tell me how you feel about smokers smoking near you. I honestly would love to know.