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Close Quarters
Author: Mike Durand

Where did you start smoking? Sneaking a Camel in the bathroom between classes, maybe you took your first puff in the backseat of your father’s car, or the basement, there are lots of stories of those who started in the closet (literally and figuratively.) Maybe there is some deep psychological connection between tight spaces and smoking, who knows, let the experts cook their brains on that one. The fact is though, that the majority of places you smoke are enclosed. There are risks to this you may not be aware of.

At the heart of this issue is the question: When is it okay to risk another person’s life? Maybe a better question would be whether there is ever a time when risking another person’s life is justified. It’s so easy to smoke in what you would call ‘your space’, your living room, your bedroom, your office, and think, well it is my body and I can do with what I want. But the fact is that when you light up, you are taking a risk with the person next to you. And there may be a good chance that the person next to you is someone you love, a child, a mother, a close associate, a best friend. The closer this person is to you, the more they are at risk; it doesn’t take a scientific study to figure that out. You smoke, they live with you; you add it up.

If we are to take this scenario one step further and try to imagine the conversation you could be having after one of your so called loved ones have been diagnosed with lung cancer which in essence they have contract from you; what will you say?

It might be constructive to write down all the places you smoke during the day and then make a note of who may be around you when you light up. The risks increase the tighter the space. Are you smoking in the car? Are your children with you? Are the windows closed? Any smoker who lives in a climate where winter is a factor has experienced this syndrome in spades, smoking with the windows closed, the toxic chemicals compounding with every new cigarette. By the end of your morning commute you and whoever is with you are not only walking fuming clouds of smoke, but both you and they have ingested enough noxious fumes to power your car back home. Now, as said, you can take a risk with your own life, but what if you are taking some one else along in this treacherously risky ride with you? If you have made that choice have you told them? Have you said, specifically: Listen I have decided to take the risk of dying from this habit of mine, you want to come along for the ride? Not an easy conversation to have, I’m sure. Think about this next time you light up in “your space.”

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