Tuesdays are Your Turn – Confronting Public Smokers (Or Not)
Last week Kelley sent me this question:
[W]e’ve been spending a lot of time outside at the beach, park, etc. Smoking is illegal here in all public parks including the beach, however, I always (at
least every other time) have someone doing it anyway. Most people will go where they are supposed to when I explain her asthma and ask them to please move. Some won’t, so I have called the police once, but they left before they get there. Any suggestions for what to do? How do you approach those situations?
As I already told her, I don’t.
I don’t say anything. Ever.
When I was in college I smoked. In fact, as I’ve mentioned here before, I smoked until I was 22 years-old, right up until the very instant I looked at the results of my home pregnancy test and found out about AG. This particular fact in the history of my life so far, I’ll admit, occasionally manifests itself as a tiny little voice in the corner of my brain asking, “How do you know the asthma’s not YOUR fault then?”
Mommy guilt, it’s the BEST.
A somewhat smoky history also makes me feel like a hypocrite when it comes to confronting people with cigarettes in illegal public spaces. I mean, what right do I have? If not for AG’s conception, who’s to say I wouldn’t still smoke now? Certainly I’d tried to quit several times before my pregnancy, and some of my still-childless friends from those days never could break the addiction.
Taking this hypothetical one step further, had I not gotten pregnant and quit cigarettes for good, I could have ended up as one of those people puffing away in the parking lot by the beach, no kids, no asthma blog, and you’d be telling me to stop smoking illegally around your bronchially sensitive child.
Kind of weird to think about, huh?
You just never know where life will send you, and the transition from pack-a-day smoker and college student to recent graduate, new mom, and later, asthma blogger and advocate, can happen in an instant.
I’m grateful every day for the person AG’s pregnancy turned me into, even though at the time, I felt like new motherhood at 23 had a fairly decent chance of breaking me.
But enough about my life. On to the question:
How do you deal with people smoking illegally in public spaces and especially around your child?