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Second-Hand Smoke: It's Not A Joke This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Recently, on a stroll through a local mall, my friend and I were forced to run to the nearest exit for a breath of fresh air. We were desperately trying not to breathe the nauseating smoke being emitted from the dozens of cigarettes dangling from the lips and fingers of fellow mall-goers, but it was to no avail. Our only other option was to wait around awhile and be carried out on a stretcher when our lungs were so full of smoke that we could not muster up the energy to make it back to our car. (OK, I admit I am exaggerating a little bit, but I hope you get my point.) I was appalled at the number of smokers I saw hanging around the mall, killing themselves and hundreds around them with their toxic smoke. There is no one age group I am targeting for this atrocity. Although I am quite disturbed to see junior high and high school students smoking when no one under eighteen is supposedly allowed by law to buy tobacco products, that is another issue entirely.

My problem is not with the age of the smokers, my problem is with the plethora of smokers polluting my air in public places. I should have the right to go shopping without being forced to cut my trip short because of sore, red eyes and a migraine brought on by cigarette smoke. If people want to smoke and slowly kill themselves, that is their prerogative. However, they can smoke in their home or in their car or outside where I can get far away from their poisonous fumes. By smoking indoors in a public building, the non-smokers are forced to breathe the harmful air. The only alternative for non-smokers is to not go shopping. That is preposterous! I have every right to visit a mall and not become ill because the air quality is so poor.

Mall owners (and others) say that regulating smoking it will hurt their businesses. I disagree. I believe that by not regulating smoking their businesses will be hurt even more. I refuse to put my health in danger and suffer unnecessarily so a smoker can enjoy his butt. If I visit a store where I am bothered by smoke, I leave, as do many of my non-smoking friends. Obviously we will not be buying anything if we are running for the nearest exit.

We citizens should not be forced to endure one more day of second-hand smoke. It is our duty as non-smokers concerned with the public health and welfare of our society to demand stricter regulations regarding smoking in public places. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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1234 said...
Oct. 25, 2011 at 12:03 am
If the mall owners wan't to keep the business of smokers, that is their decision. You have no right to smoke-free air at that establishment.
 
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