Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not Around My Daughter

So we took our 17 month old with us to run a couple of errands.  We picked up some books from the library to feed my wife's voracious appetite,* stopped by the auto parts store to get a new brake light (who knew it was that easy to replace a burned out brake light?), tried the new nacho cheese chicken sandwich at JackintheCrack (yummy!), and finally went to the park to let the little one stretch her legs out.

We were swinging together on the big chair swing and I looked over and 20 feet away was a man walking along in the play area with his 2 year old girl while smoking a cigarette, and the smoke was drifting over our way.

Time Out.

I hate cigarettes.  At least alcohol has some plausible defensibility (though not much).  There is nothing redeeming about smoking.  I get mad at how many patients smoke, but I get even more mad at parents who smoke.

Okay, back to the story.  So I hand my daughter to my wife and walk over to the man (who is now about 10 feet away) and ask, in as non-angry a voice as I can muster, to "please don't smoke around my daughter."  He looks at me and says, "I wasn't around your daughter."

Seriously.  That was his response.  But at least he did put his cigarette out and slid it in his pocket.

Seriously.  He slid his cigarette in his pocket.

Perhaps better judgment at that point would have been to leave it be, but the nurse in me came out for one last moment and I said, "You shouldn't be smoking around your own daughter."  I guess I'm glad that he didn't respond to that, because I wouldn't have backed down, and I probably would have ended up spending a few extra unscheduled hours in the ER, but I was mad.  I wanted to deck that idiot.

If you want to kill yourself with cigarettes, that is your stupid decision to make (and my bill to pay for when you can no longer work at 55 and are racking up the bills for all your COPD hospitalizations that you can't pay for), but when you make that decision for others, and blatantly smoke in front of your child, I see red.  Ruin your own life if you want, but leave your innocent child out of it.  At best you are modeling a terrible habit, and at worst you are encancerenating (made up word for the day) your child.  I have to admit that part of me was secretly hoping maybe the cigarette wasn't put out completely when it went in his pocket.  Maybe that way he couldn't bring any more children into the world just to kill them slowly with his stupidity.

Wow, I just reread that, and it makes me sound very angry.  Good.  I am.


Unknown said...

Okay, ex-smoker of 10 years here. I agree that smoking around children is an egregious sin. Both my parents chain-smoked in our unventilated house (my mother believed in keeping all doors and windows closed, even in the summer). My younger brother developed asthma, and eventually died of pneumonia; and I developed chronic bronchitis that lasted through my early childhood. Less was known about the hazards of second-hand smoke at that time (early 1960s), but I'm certain it was the cause of our medical conditions.

So far, I agree with you.

OTOH, how much smoke do you think your daughter inhaled from a single lit cigarette, 20 feet away, in the fully ventilated great outdoors? I'd wager little-to-none; she was really not endangered, and IMO you overreacted.

Unless there is a smoking ban in your local public park, your zealous "intervention" was completely out-of-line. I hate smoke (nearly) as much as you do, but recognize the fact that until legislated otherwise, there is little we can do to prevent people from indulging in their dirty little habit.

As a parent, I have also learned that we can't protect our kids from every little hazard they encounter, much as we might want to. If you continue approaching people from a position of aggression when angry, you are setting a poor example for your children to follow.

GrumpyRN said...

Oh you are going to get it, I wrote about smoking and received the most comments ever so prepare to be flamed.
I agree with you, but think you were perhaps a touch hasty in telling him off as he had done what you asked, but I understand your point of view. You will never stop people smoking, as I wrote, people will even smoke while looking at a notice telling them they are in a no smoking zone because it is their 'right'. Best thing that ever happened in UK is that it is now illegal to smoke in any building to which the public have access, means I can go out and not smell like an ashtray at the end of the night.

AtYourCervix said...

I totally agree with you, in telling that father to not smoke around your child. He may not have realized that the smoke does carry in the air, and your child was breathing it in. Ugh, I hate smoking.

Anonymous said...

I am a respiratory chick so I well understand what smoking will do. I know eventually my tax dollars will end up paying for some sap who wouldn't give up cigarettes. I look at it differtently though, it's job security for me. Smoke your brains out. Keeps me in a paycheck.

Unknown said...

Braden got lucky. I wasn't so lucky. I did something like that to a smoker last summer. It was at a restaurant and my wife and I were having dinner on the patio. There was guy smoking a couple tables over. I got up and said something about it to him and walked away thinking that would do the job. He followed me over to my table and sat down next to my wife. He put out his cigarette in my mashed potatoes. I was furious but I also realized I was dealing with a dangerous lunatic. He started talking to me, calling me names and smiling all the time he was talking. He told me he was bipolar and he'd like nothing better than to be my new best friend. He asked me where I lived. Of course I didn't tell him but by this time he was scaring me bad. I paid the bill and left with my wife. I've seen him several times since and he's waved to me. Sometimes he shouts at me and asks me hows it going. I've seen him drive by my house. I've called the cops but they tell me there's nothing I can do until he does something more than just say "hello". I wish to God I'd kept my mouth shut that day. I know I was right but in hindsight it wasn't worth it. I know he's the guy that slashed my tires and threw trash in my yard. I just can't prove it. He scares the hell out of me when he laughs. People like that should be locked up.