I’m an ex-smoker and I need to tell you this… 264



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During the week there was an article on Starts at 60 about smoking and whether or not the price of cigarettes should be tripled to decrease the amount of people smoking and save thousands of lives every year. There was one interesting comment thread on the article that both angered me and made me proud.

Firstly, I’m an ex-smoker. I smoked through my teens, in my early 20s. I stopped when I had children but by the time my third child was in high school, I started back up again. Two years ago I quit for good. Why? Because I realised that it was an expensive habit, throwing away money I could have spent on treating my wife. I was also starting to feel short of breath, slower and more lethargic and I don’t want my active life to be cut any more short. And most importantly, I realised that with every draw on a cigarette I was making the deliberate decision to be so selfish that I was cutting my time short – my time to spend with my wife, my time to spend with the kids and my time to spend with my friends.

I’m proud that I quit, but I still get cravings and I still, often, think like a smoker. But when I read this thread I realised that the smoker mentality may have found new bounds. Someone commented saying they hate it when smokers light up in public places, beside other people and blow smoke into their faces. She then likened it to spraying perfume they hate in their direction and suggested that perhaps she should try it next time it happens. She also said that she doesn’t have hesitation in asking them to move if they are doing it.

Well, that poor lady was absolutely dragged through the dirt for her opinion. In response to her take on humour, someone said that she would be arrested as she is spraying chemicals at another person – isn’t that was a smoker does when they blow smoke in someone’s direction? Then another person replied saying, “you don’t own the world and tell other people what to do if you don’t like the smell MOVE”. Another who previously said they were a smoker said, “A bus stop is a public place, you have no right to tell people what to do, if your not happy then you move… you’re a very rude person”. Simply for expressing her opinion.

Then someone made a comment that had me reeling. They said, “smokers pay more taxes than you do and they have a right to sit in peace without your rudeness directed at them”.

Now, I’m all for fair and reasonable but this comment made me take a step back and say, ‘wow, is that someone’s real justification for smokers doing what they want to do?’ Should Australia really operate on a scheme where the people who pay the highest tax have more rights than those who pay less tax?

Australia’s income tax works on percentage – it’s a percentage of what you earn so quite simply, if you earn more, you pay more. If you earn less, you pay less. This person basically said that wealthy people have more rights than poorer people. Or perhaps she just simply didn’t think before she wrote?

As a once smoker, I am disgruntled that there are people out there that think that way. I loved smoking and a part of me still does love it, but I really hope that the smoker mentality doesn’t take a turn down this path. Smoking is no more than a habit – an unhealthy one at that. Smokers are also more likely to be less well of socio-economically according to some studies, so please smokers as someone who wants to stand up for you, please don’t say things without thinking. Please remember that what we do isn’t healthy. Please remember that giving money to the government is our choice and it doesn’t make us any more important than anyone else.

People who drink are legally confined to licensed public venues, bars or in private homes – if they are drinking on the street or letting their smell, breath or distorted behaviour be seen by anyone they can be charged with an offence. Smokers aren’t, but with these bad attitudes, it makes me think that we should have the same circumstances.

I hope that smokers can read this and remember that our rights are equal to everyone else’s. I want us to be respectful of other people and live together happily.


Do you agree with me? 

Guest Contributor

  1. As a non smoker I think that is a load of crap, if anyone had the hide for any reason to spray me with perfume, deodorant, or any other substance, I would be furious. Just because we don’t smoke does not give us the right to be offensive to others nor is it an excuse for down right rudeness. I don’t drink alcohol either, and I don’t like the smell of booze or the behaviour of drunks but it is NOT my right to be abusive to people or to be spraying them with things and to the person who gutlessly wrote the article without a name to it..its not yours either !!

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    • Mike here-agree, if when I smoked, someone had sprayed me with anything, they would have been walking funny until they had visited their doctor & had it surgically removed from their fundamental orrifice (or oriffice, or orifice, you get my drift).

  2. Someone with their head screwed on the correct way. I am a none smoker and have suffered for years with stinking clothes and hair smelling of smoke and lately with damaged lungs (not from my smoking other peoples), we use to have to put up with it without complaint, I hated having to breathe other peoples dirty air and still do. but if you wish to smoke and ruin your health, please do so but not in my small space please.

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    • As someone who used to smoke( stopped fifteen years ago) and has suffered for it, I have researched a lot. I am a firm believer that passive smoking causes a lot of damage. But we all have to make our own choices. I have never seen a smoker deliberately blow smoke in someone’s face etc, recently I have noticed that some are careful when non smokers are near. Smokers are now more restricted as to where they can smoke than ever before. Personally, because of my health issues and proven evidence of what smoking does, I wish no-one would smoke, but do we have the right to stop them?

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      • Not while the government is making all that lovely tax money from smokers. If that revenue flow stops they may start taxing something I enjoy.

    • No!!! Some people believe they have the right to die when they are sick and will suffer , BUT the high and mighty believe they have the right to decide that for you . It’s time people mind their own business , live your life the way you want and have the curtesy to allow others the same privilege .

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      • I am in a smoker & I’m fed up with people whinging I won’t smoke if I go to someone’s house I respect their rules. Society has made it difficult to smoke anywhere & now you get looked at like you’ve committed a crime Most smokers are very respectful & will only smoke if allowed I’m sick & tired of hearing all the bloody whinging There are more important things to worry about than smokers So I say shut up All the non smokers have plenty of places they can go Where can we go? Leave us in peace Nag something else for a change

    • So you don’t mind standing where you are constantly inhaling diesel fumes from cars, trucks trains etc which by the way we all do everyday and it is more harmful to you than someone’s cigarette smoke. What about the alcohol drinkers out there that consume to much and then act badly in public maybe right next to you or possibly king hit you or get in their car and drive and possibly kill you or a loved one get off with a smack on the wrist from the law, or then again the drunk who will beat up his/ her partner or kids, is that more socially acceptable to you? If the smoker was standing there first it is up to you not to stand next to them or if you were there first just move away this is a big world with plenty of free space for everyone. Get over it. I am a non smoker by the way

    • Leanne, please provide a link to that information, I would be interested to see if there are links to some cigarette companies (remember they hid the truth about smoking for years), Neene, I am very careful what I breathe, lucky I live in a clean environment, I am lucky I do not have to travel into the city (I live in SA), so am able to make the right choices on whether I breathe diesel fumes. I agree with you regarding alcohol drinkers, but funny enough I have noticed that most people are very sensible about how much they drink (of course you always get idiots). I survived domestic violence and made the hard decision that I had to change because he would (could) not. I don’t mind if you smoke, just do it in your own space, be mindful of others and don’t hide the smoke so we get a lungful of smoke because we did not see it and could not avoid it. I do not frequent smokers areas because I am mindful and respectful enough to know that it is your space not mine.

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      • Well Sorel Sanders , you think you live in a clean environment , just think about the home you live in , the Carpet or stained floor , the bed you sleep in with died colour sheets and blankets , the plastic containers you use in the micro and the micro oven it self , your lounge chairs , television , paint on the walls , and your car you drive , they are all TOXIC , and you are saying you live in a clean fresh environment . I would like to know what the statistic are between smokers and non smokers . I had a smoker friend who had lung cancer , she was in a ward with three other lung cancer sufferers , but she was the only smoker , only one smoker out of four , the other three had lung cancer because of there stress in there life .

    • I already put out the link twice and got abused for it..google it..it is easy to find.. I am not a smoker..I keep say that but I have allergies that are not affected by smoking but could be affected by cheap perfume sprayed around. And not only that, where has politeness gone.. are we just be rude to everyone now?

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    • come and sit in a room for 15 min with me smoking or 15 min in a room with a car running with won would you like

  3. I am one of those people who objected, I told her she could kill someone, there are people who a sever allergy to perfume based products, I myself have a sever allergy to Bactrim and have a medi alert bracelet. I have ended up in intensive care before. if you find it objectionable be polite and ask people to move, if they don’t , you have 2 feet, you move. No one has the right to put others lives at risk and passive smoking has been proved scientifically to be an urban myth. I you feel the need to target me in here Starts at 60’s don’t be gutless simply ban me..oh and I am a non smoker

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    • Passive smoking is no urban myth. Check your facts for truth, not just to suit yourself.

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      • Berni, it’s not a cut & dried conclusive assessment at all.
        The landmark case of the Port Kembla RSL that gave birth to the prospect of 2nd hand smoke omitted to mention that the bar manager that worked beside her was a smoker (That I drank with).
        It’s all about susceptibility.
        All 4 of my brothers & sisters smoked their entire early lives, as did I (Up until two & a half years ago) I have a younger brother (Cigar smoker) & the 2 sisters still smoke. The eldest being 75 & knows she will probably die of emphysema, as my mother did at 92 & was still smoking. when told she should give them up she said “I’ve been separated from Sam(Dad who died at 82) for 15 years, that’s long enough”
        Next time you visit the Doctors consultation rooms, you will probably see a smokers chart with the word “Susceptibility” clearly displayed.
        It’s a simple case of manners but it’s a bit hard to stand down wind of crowded places.

    • A large-scale study found no clear link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer, undercutting the premise of years of litigation including a
      Florida case that yielded a $350 million settlement. http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2013/12/12/study-finds-no-link-between-secondhand-smoke-and-cancer/

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      • It depends on the validity of the trial including who was sponsoring it. I work in medical research and, trust me, a trial can be manipulated to highlight desired outcomes. There is a great amount of evidence suggesting passive smoking can have major effects on certain people which suggests a genetic link – same for smokers. It can help to explain why some people smoke for 60 years and never develop COPD while others are at lung transplant level (below 30% of pulmonary function permanently) in their 30’s. It’s one of the many gambles you take when you smoke – are you genetically predisposed to the chemicals in a cigarette affecting you.

    • google it..you don’t watch the news there are articles everywhere about it..I have nothing to gain by making this up..I don’t bloody smoke!!

    • Hi Leanna Stephenson, we publish community contributions on the site as we believe everyone is entitled to their opinion be it right or wrong. We open topics up for discussion and thought this article had an interesting point. Cheers, Jess

    • Every time I was pregnant I would get a terrible cough. It was worse first thing in the morning. My gyno repeatedly would ask if I smoked. During the second pregnancy he sent me for chest X-rays it was so bad. Nothing showed up. The third pregnancy he asked, does your husband smoke. The answer was yes. He said that’s your problem. I made sure after that, that he never smoked around me again. The cough cleared. That doctor was years ahead of his time. That was 33 years ago. He knew then about the effects of passive smoking.

    • Mike here-but Margaret, did he tell you about the xarciogenic effects of diesel exhaust, of the poisons on our food, the toxicity of the majority of things pumoed into the air, our obstetrician told June, whem

    • Leanna – passive smoking is not an urban myth. My father smoked for 40 odd years and my mother never put a cigarette in her mouth yet she had several operations to unclog her arteries, in her neck and legs – all due to years of passive smoking. Every new doctor she saw asked her if she still smoked.

    • People who smoke cigarettes firstly have to admit they are addicts with an addiction to the drug nicotine. Taking away the ‘glamour’ & Normalising of being ‘a smoker’, that’s the reality. Another comment on the side if billions of people in the word are exhaling how much carbon are they contributing to the environment?

    • And how much pollution in the air eg > fire smoke , rubbish bin stench , car oils / petrol . I have looked after people who At 95 lov their ciggie . You saying they shouldn’t ? 95 yrs ,

    • Hmm, read this with some interest. I have never smoked. However ‘came from a family where parents smoked and wekids were exposed to passive smoking our entire young lives; my sisters seemed to farebetter than I who’s lungs wern’e too healthy. Pluorsy, pneumonia and bronchitis wern’t uncommon. Carolyn you speak of other poisons in the air- I agree however they are remnants of human habitation. Smokers choose to smoke, I cannot understand how people cn actually afford it and for the good it does you could actually flush the money down the loo and be healthier. Remember- you don’t need to smoke- I need to breathe….

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      • I started smoking at 15+ saved the money from bus fares. My father smoked until he died of lung cancer at aged 55. I did not connect the dangers of smoking at aged 15, it was advertised all over the magazines as being the thing to do if you were a sophisticated woman.
        The movies at this time always had the actors or actresses holding a cigarette. My husband never smoked & used to beg me to give it up, my kids whenever we went on a car trip pleaded for me to not smoke in the car. Looking back now after all these years & having learned the ramifications of smoke related diseases, I wish I had listened to the good advice of friends & relatives. I watch young people both men & women smoking in cars & around their kids, I wish I could tell them I have emphysema because I left it too late to give up.

    • Yes there are people allergic to perfumes, but I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke. I can’t stop coughing even exposed to the mildest a out. My life was miserable when outside and even at work when people smoked everywhere. It is improving as now I can go to restaurants, shopping centres and fly.

    • I am allergic to most chemicals, cleaning, smokes, perfumes, deodorants, it isn’t life threatening, but depending on the amount inhaled I could be quite unwell for upto 24hours. Now, my allergies to some food is also a concern.

    • I read all your posts and I think courtesy is the key, we need to get back to the old values we grew up with as children, everyone should show respect and courtesy to each other, smokers and non smokers

    • Re the science about passive smoking. I attended a lecture at RPA Hospital in Sydney where an oncologist, i.e. cancer specialist, said that a girl who is exposed to passive smoking in the home before the age of 12 has a 50% risk of breast cancer as an adult. Both my parents were smokers and both died from smoking related medical conditions, emphysema and bladder cancer. I was one of those girls and had a 38% prognosis for survival. My parents weren’t aware of those risks then so I don’t blame them. However, anyone who reads this is now aware. To be frank, if anyone would choose to continue to smoke after reading this, then consider yourself to be judged as a potential murderer. It’s as simple as that!

  4. Like all things in life there are those who make it bad for others .
    I think you took what they said way too literal . That lady was quite rude and I think the other writer was upset with them and just hitting back .
    Although , there are people out there ( many ) actually that believe the people who earn more than them should pay MUCH more tax to pay for everyone’s freebies . Even today they want everyone with a higher pay packet to pay twice as much tax . Never mind you do already pay twice as much as they do .
    And if you do smoke , the tax on cigarettes is very high . Yes drinkers can be fined or charged ! But more often they kill people first . Then ruin their own lives with liver damage . And an alcoholic really smells also . I would rather someone smoked a cigarette than took drugs , of any kind , or was a alcoholic . The people in this world are not perfect .but to each their own . I go into a ladies room any where and see the amount of people who do not wash their Hands I absolutely hate this , they smell and are spreading their extremely bad bacteria every where which has the potential to make you violently ill . So I think everyone should get Down OFF their high horses and live and let live .

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    • i thank you, I think it is very offensive for this website to be attacking people and even if they never wrote the article they put it up. I only smoke one packet of 26 cigaretts for a week. that is less that 4 cigaretts a day. I am not rude and I ask people do they mind..if they say yes, then I wait till later but I resent anyone thinking they can spray any item at me.

    • Hi Bindy Jones, we publish community contributions on the site as we believe everyone is entitled to their opinion be it right or wrong. We open topics up for discussion and thought this article had an interesting point. We hope that you do not find this offensive. Cheers, Jess

    • Binda, you may be polite and ask first before lighting up. The problem is, a lot of people feel awkward saying no to smokers wanting to light up. I have found myself saying ‘no, I don’t mind you having a smoke’. Also the bigger problem is, most smokers appear to be selfish and light up regardless who is nearby.

    • I understand what you mean Gail . When I’m out I don’t like sitting next to loud people drinking alcohol , I find it very annoying , but I don’t have a choice . I would also like to say to women in the bathroom ‘m excuse me could you wash your hands, before you pass along some of your contagious bacteria ‘ how ever I’m not allowed that privilege either. Men spitting in the street straight in front of you ! These are just a few .So we are both putting up with others , that is life .

  5. oh crap I am unliking this place, I smoke and I objected to her spraying cheap perfume at me and my mobil phone is in my handbag, there is a terrorist alert and if you spray anything at me..I call the police

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    • I agree with you who has the right to spray perfume or anything, it is a assult and can be charged

  6. Well written and I agree wholeheartedly, as an ex-smoker of almost 10 years. Even when I did smoke I was very conscious of non-smokers’ rights and tried hard not to offend them. Now as one myself I wish that smokers would understand and show the same consideration.
    However if anyone sprayed me with anything in the current terrorist climate I would freak out. Perfume sprayed in the face can damage eyes. Its an overreaction. Ask the smoker to move and if they won’t then move yourself. Unfortunately smoking is still legal.

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    • I think it was an over reaction too and a dangerous one, I don’t smoke but I must be lucky I have found most smokers to be polite, but even if they weren’t I would not be offensive to them, it gets you nowhere, people get annoyed back and go good will come of it

    • Totally agree Libbi. I think we all need to just chill a bit and try to get along. Its this type of confrontation that can lead to ‘the cowards punch’ which can prove fatal. Far better to relocate yourself and prevent hostilities.

    • What does annoy me, and I am an ex smoker is when my husband lights a cigarette and puffs the smoke into the face of our great granddaughter who is sitting on his knee!! He gets annoyed with me when I ask him not to smoke around her. I sit at the other end of the room from him as he won’t go outside to smoke.

  7. Back in the 70 I (a non smoker) worked for a cigarette company ..back in those days we thought nothing of it .. my parents, my siblings smoked …thankfully my husband didn’t. I worked in the office and work colleagues smoked at their desks ..a weekly work bonus was a carton of smokes which were given to my parents … I worked there a couple of years and after leaving it took months before I stopped coughing up junk .. research can prove anything they want .. i know the consequences of and believe in passive smoking.

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    • your beliefs are your choice and I would never deny you that right, but I thought what you said was interesting, it was acceptable in those times and that is why so many older smokers are addicted today, and from what I have read smoking is far more addictive than heroin, it is a shame it was ever allowed to be sold. I have taken note that you have not mentioned that you would be spraying things on people.

    • I accept people have a choice … I choose not to be around them and avoid areas they smoke in .. I welcome rulings today that give us non smokers the better freedom to be away from it ..my current husband was a smoker up until we met … He knew it was a deal breaker .. from the moment we met he took the long road to quit ..apparently he thought I was worth it.

    • Mike here-We thought nothing of it? Quite a few major television & movie stars earned dollars telling us how suave & and sophisticated we looked with a cigarette hanging from our fingers & a cloud of cigarette smoke around us. Stuart Wagstaff, Paul Hogan to name just two.

  8. A few years back my husband had a heart operation. We attended a football game our son was playing in soon after his release from hospital and I purposely found an area away from everyone else, specifically smokers, so he was more comfortable. About 15 minutes later a group of people came over and stood in front of us and started smoking and then argued with me when I asked them to move or stop smoking. We don’t smoke and we have rights too. They did eventually move after much grumbling after I pointed out what I had done.

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    • Get real Leanna. Why are you so uptight? This is a public forum you can leave it if you choose.

    • who are you to be telling people to leave Kate Prynne? do own this website? no? then mind your own business

    • I am annoyed Kate Pynne because the article is about me!! I objected on moral ground to her spraying cheap perfume at people..not only is it immoral it is dangerous..if you don’t like what I post that is easy..I will block you

    • Leanna, did you really read the article or just skimmed. It states that if you have lived with a smoker for 30 years (I am going to make an assumption here) the jury is still out. Now once upon a time, if you went out in public and ended up in a enclosed space you were surrounded by second hand smoke, so for someone over 60 there is a good chance that 30 year timetable might have a good chance of proving second hand smoke is dangerous. By the way, if you want to stink of smoke please feel free to do so, I don’t.

    • I think in the end Sorel it boils to people choices, you can choose to be rude or to be polite, I don’t smoke but I am a very clean person, so even if I am near smokers it will not affect the way I smell, I shower twice a day and wash my clothing after each wear. I am not going to be rude to anyone for any reason, it is confrontational and it only causes problems. That is how violence occurs, someone gets offended at something that others do or say

    • Smoking is a personal choice. If you choose to smoke or not, it becomes an issue of being respectful of others and their choices. I have to say however I don’t feel that spraying anything around is going to help. As I said in my original post, once I explained our situation the group moved on, even though there was a bit of grumbling. We need to remember how to live with one another instead of being judgemental and divisive.

  9. What about the latest nonsense about smokers on the beach who they want to ban for leaving a cigarette but that looks unsightly, we’ll do we ban people who drink alcohol, soft drink from glass bottles etc or the drug user both of whom leave either broken bottles or syringes for you or a loved one to step on which would have far more serious consequences to your health than a cigarette but.

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    • I would rather have cigarette butts around me than used condoms, and they is what I found last time I went to the beach

    • Actually the chemicals in the butts do affect the sea creatures, not saying one butt will harm, but if everyone left a butt then there would be a big problem. It’s the old rubbish thing, someone always thinks it is ok for them to leave their rubbish on the beach…………

    • Actually nobody should leave any rubbish anywhere. That includes butts, cans, paper, syringes and needles. Beaches, streets, parks should all be left clean and pristine

  10. This ex-smoker missed the point. The additional tax is what is paid on the purchase price of cigarettes and nothing to do with how much the person earns. I am not a smoker but I do feel sorry for people who smoke. It seems it would be more socially acceptable to have aids than to be a smoker.

  11. People who are successful in giving up smoking, do it for themselves. And this is as it should be. Other people benefit by this as well. I am glad to hear that you have quit the habit. An acquaintance of mine gave up smoking and religiously banked what he would have spent on his habit every week. At the end of a year, he bought himself and family a 4WD ute!

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    • That’s a great tangible idea. One of my clients put her ‘smokes’ money into a special bank account and called me up sometime later and said, “Remember me?” then, “Guess where I’ve been on my first overseas holiday?” Good on her!

    • I quit over 16 years ago and have had several overseas holidays that I would never have been able to afford if I was still smoking.

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