Last week one of my sons came down from Boston a couple of days early to get some beach time before we left town and met up with other family members for my niece’s wedding. I’d been looking forward to that beach day with my son for several months. My husband took the day off, we packed up all our beach paraphernalia, loaded up the little SUV and headed to the Oceanfront. Wispy cirrus clouds spattered the clear blue sky.
If you’ve ever been a beach goer, you know the production of schlepping all your stuff from the car, dragging it across the hot sand, staking your spot, laying the beach towels or blanket down, setting up your chairs, and anchoring your beach umbrella securely in the sand. Once you are firmly ensconced in your spot, you ain’t moving until it’s time to go home.
So it was with some dismay as I watched a couple with a young daughter of about six set up their chairs right in front of us. No, it wasn’t that they blocked my view. Let’s face it; summer on Virginia Beach is packed, so it’s pointless to get upset about someone parking their things in front of you. What had me steaming was this man had the nerve to pull out a cigarette and light it, sending nasty smoke in my direction. Because the breeze comes off the ocean during the day, unless I picked up and moved, the cigarette smoke was going to keep coming in my direction. As my lungs felt the effects, I coughed loudly, hoping the inconsiderate man would realize how his smoke was making me suffer, but he was oblivious to its effects.
I know that people who smoke get angry when people complain about their smoking in public places. Yes, smoking has been banned in restaurants in Virginia, but there is no law against smoking outside, they point out. I, however, feel my right to breathe air not fouled by cancer causing cigarette smoke trumps their right to smoke in my vicinity. Studies show that secondary smoke kills. If they want to continue their nasty habit, by all means they should be able to do so–in the privacy of their own home. Let them close their windows and doors and sit in smoky bliss to their hearts content. Actually, their hearts probably won’t be too content, but that’s beside the point. But what of that precious little girl? Where are her rights?
EWWW! One of my biggest rants is against smoking as well. I love the fact that restaurants are now smoke free because even in the “no smoking” section, the smoke always found me. I hate being outside somewhere and smelling the foul stuff too. And it always seems smokers decide to occupy the same space as me, so I could totally see what happened to you at the beach happening to me as well. I really want to go ballistic on people when they smoke around children and seeing a pregnant girl smoke just makes me want to scream at her. Okay, enough ranting…there’s probably a different kind of smoke coming out of my ears! 😀
With all the hard evidence about smoking, including second hand smoking, I think the reason it’s not totally banned is because of the tobacco lobby. Thanks for your ranting, Mama. I concur with every word.
I’m with you. There is nothing worse, to me, than despoiling a beautiful beach with cigarette butts and making everyone inhale your smoke. I appreciate that it’s difficult to quit and I especially appreciate people who go out of their way to make sure I don’t have to breathe it in, but smoking on beaches has always irked me. It’s Shark Week on the Discovery Channel… Maybe we could feed the smokers to the Great Whites.
LOL! I forgot it was shark week. I’ve missed a day already. I’m tuning in tonight.
Oh, and for the record, I smoked in my twenties and I quit, so I know it’s hard, but people who really want to can do it if they are determined.
I have absolutely no tolerance for it either. Right now in Maine, they are trying to pass laws against smoking at Old Orchard Beach. Of course, some smokers are willing to find other places to smoke, but others are ranting about their “rights”. I agree, they have rights–a right to inhale smoke in their own space. But if I or my kids are inhaling it, sorry, you have no rights anymore. I feel very strongly as my own dad was a heavy chain smoker and as kids we basically lived under a constant cloud of smoke. To this day I have asthma issues and they are getting worse. Second-hand smoke is terrible.
I don’t know why smokers just don’t get it. We now have the new packaging on cigarettes that makes it plain as the nose on your face that smoking will kill you and second-hand smoke is dangerous to others. To smoke outside where people have no choice but to breathe your foul air is abominable.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves — I agree that smokers should *not* have the right to smoke outside where others must smell their smoke. Unlike you, I would have moved, no question. I also think that parents should not be allowed to smoke around their children (I know it’s an extreme view, but it is associated with many more health risks than “simply” cancer!). Having grown up with a mother who smoked constantly around me (including when I was pregnant), I finally had the courage to put my foot down when she visited me with my newborn son. I made her go outside to smoke, but I couldn’t make her stop smoking. Sadly, she died of smoking-related disease by the time my son was ten. I simply will not tolerate being around smokers anymore! (Sorry for the rant, but thank you for the opportunity to agree with you and express my frustration alongside you!)
Your rant was my rant, Julia! Grrrrr!