Please. Don’t Walk and Smoke at the Same Time

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I grew up in the house of smoke. The fact that I came out of it without smoking is actually kind of bizarre. When I lived at home, I didn’t even realize how everything I owned smelled like smoke. It wasn’t until I went to college that I ever understood the stale smell of lingering cigarette smoke. My mom figured it out eventually too, and started making all the smokers smoke outside. Which totally makes sense.

I don’t have a vendetta against smokers. I was against the smoking ban in bars. I smoked my fair share of angry, drunk cigarettes after that ban was implemented (it’s hard when all your friends go out to smoke and you’re stuck inside watching purses. Fuck that). My best friend Lily loves to tell my chain-smoking story of that one time I had a lit cigarette in each hand and two unlit cigarettes behind my ears. To be fair, I was drunk, pissed, and Bill Clintoning that shit (I didn’t like the burning from inhaling).

Now, I walk almost a mile to and from work each day. I pass by more than 642 people every day (I tried to count once, but lost track after a couple blocks and several hundred people).
Every east-west street near the train stations in The Loop looks like this during rush hour. A sea of people – hundreds people – just racing to their offices. Of those hundred of people, there are usually a few unobservant smokers blowing smoke backwards, not even considering what jerky behavior they’re exhibiting.
Listen. I get it. You want your smoky treat before work. After work. At lunch. When you’re a tourist on vacation. I don’t blame you. As a general rule, work sucks and vacation can be stressful. But when you walk and smoke at the same time in that giant crowd of people…you’re blowing smoke in the faces of every person in a ten-foot ring behind you. I know you don’t want to be a jerk…and I’ve got some pointers to offer you so that you aren’t being a complete douchebag.

  • Pull over. Step to the side of the sidewalk and enjoy your cigarette. Preferably on the street side of the sidewalk so you’re not blowing smoke in everyone’s faces. You may miss the earlier train, but you won’t be considered an asshole by everyone who catches your smoke in their lungs. And honestly, won’t you enjoy your cigarette just a little more without rushing from point A to point B? Help me help you.
  • When someone LITERALLY runs in front of you, don’t continually try to pass her so your smoke keeps blowing in her face. She ran to get away from you.

(Yeah, I do this. And it happened. Also, the third time the guy sped up to pass me, I looked at him and yelled, “DUDE. SERIOUSLY.” This was me exhibiting douchebag behavior. That guy didn’t know what he was doing to piss me off. I felt a little bad. And he probably thought I was crazy. But seriously don’t smoke and walk.)

That’s it. Two simple steps to making the world a better place. Your efforts are appreciated.

What pet peeves do you have on your daily commute? What are your thoughts on walking smokers?

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16 Responses

  1. They’ve now made it illegal to smoke on Bar patio’s now. It’s kinda awesome. Used to be that going into a bar you had to wade through a cloud of smoke.

    Both my parents smoked when I was a kid but in the early 90s. I distinctly remember nobody being allowed to smoke in our house though. My dad had a chair in the backyard and a chair in the garage (for the winter) and an old coffee can full of cigarette butts. I even remember all my uncles going outside to smoke.

  2. I’m a smoker, and I try super hard to be respectful. I don’t flick butts out car windows. In public, I go to the “Smoker zone” or failing that, I walk away from people to my own little corner, I don’t smoke next to doors of the store and I don’t smoke in crowded places, I try to avoid smoking around other people.

    So being that I’m nice, my pet peeve is when someone comes to the “smoker zone” and complains about the smoke. Or when they see me smoking, they lecture me. Even worse, is when they send their kids to lecture me. I’ve been a douche in public too, because when a cute little six year comes up to me, in the smoking area and says “My mommy says smoking is bad for you” with mom looking all proud, I have squatted down, smiled sweetly and said, very pleasantly “why don’t you tell your mommy to mind her business?”

    So ranting over-smokers should be respectful in public places where their habit affects others. non-smokers should leave smokers alone when they are in a smoking area.

    1. Nah, people should lecture you. It’s a ridiculous habit. It serves no purpose. Even if you don’t inflict the smoke on other people, seeing you might influence children. I smoke, I wish more people would lecture me – it might shame me out of my craziness.

  3. Sorry….
    I was born in the 50’s (late 50’s)….Smoking was part of everyday life. I can’t imagine people being so insensitive about smoking. I still have 3 to 4 ciggs a day. I know, I know, it’s stupid. I wash my hands after
    smoking so I don’t stink.

  4. My parents both smoked when I was a kid too. I’m talking two smokers in the car with the windows rolled up. I can’t stand the smoke and walkers. I just hope one day they quit smoking, get behind a smoke and walker, and realize they were being jerks. When my dad quit smoking he was the most vocal about other people smoking and stinking up the place. I remember thinking, “He finally gets it!”

      1. So true. I smoked for a bit in my late teens/early 20s and when I first quit, I kinda wanted to rub up against other smokers like a cat. Once I was over that I went to the other extreme of being totally grossed out by the smell of smoke.

          1. Oh it was funny. Especially if I was drinking. My friend Matt still smoked so i basically became his human blanket. He was like don’t mind her….she’s just drunk and going through nicotine withdrawal.

  5. Congratulations cookout fans you’ve just survived being around second hand smoke for 120,000 years of equivalent exposure!

    Barbecues poison the air with toxins and could cause cancer, research suggests. A study by the French environmental campaigning group Robin des Bois found that a typical two-hour barbecue can release the same level of dioxins as up to 220,000 cigarettes.

    Dioxins are a group of chemicals known to increase the likelihood of cancer. The figures were based on grilling four large steaks, four turkey cuts and eight large sausages.”

    Even the CANCER SOCIETY has benefit cookouts yet they push for smoking bans! Talk about being Hipocrits! Heres a real sweety pie of a special hype The Dumbest Fundraising Event Ever? American Cancer Society Joins BBQ Meat “Cook Off” to Raise Money for Cancer Research NaturalNews)

    Texans living in Navarro County are about to win a collective award for being the dumbest people in the world when it comes to diet and nutrition: They are hosting a BBQ meat cook-off to raise money for — get this — cancer research!

    Even the Governor of Kentucky and all the Anti-smoking Activists were at Fancy Farm for the big Political Cook Off Cook Out yet they too survived Inhaling 10S OF BILLIONS worth of equal cigarette smoke.

    Even there own Human exhaled Breath creates hundreds of the same chemicals found in tobacco smoke yet we arent outlawing HUMANS FROM INDOOR SPACES………

    Human Exhaled Air Analytics…” Buszewski et al, Biomed. Chromatogr. 21: 553–566 (2007)

  6. Are we for real, here? You are, essentially, having a bit of a rant over someone smoking, on the sidewalk, while they’re walking? You would rather they step out of the flow of the crowd and stop if they must smoke – because you think it’s inconsiderate and don’t want to smell it?


    In a crowd, one can be exposed to a lot of smells one doesn’t like. B.O., heavy perfumes, soaps, coffees, foodstuffs, bodily emissions, etc… WHY does everyone rant on about the smokers?

    Oh, yea….it’s because smokers are the sub-species of human it’s OK to hate.

    I’ve a suggestion for you – try carrying a little less judgement in your heart, and practice a lot more quiet acceptance of the diversity of people around you.

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