I have vivid memories of hazy, summer afternoons at home. I can hear the drone of window A.C. units mixed with the muffled chatter of radios and television sets. I see, smell, and feel the smoke. Gray tendrils slip from the end of my mother’s Virginia Slim and creep into every corner of the room. Although I cannot feel it burning in my chest, I know in theory that it injures me.
I would give almost anything to have another afternoon with my Mother, even if she was smoking. My love for her always overrode my disdain for her bad habits, but I know those habits put her in the ground long before I was ready to see her buried.
Now that I am no longer accustomed to the daily haze of second-hand smoke, I can barely stand catching a whiff of the stuff. My nose burns and itches; my lungs become tight. I am physically offended, even though I’m not really bothered emotionally. While I was once desensitized, now I am immediately aware of its toxic nature.
The fight against second-hand smoke has largely been won. While church buildings were once one of the few places you could go to escape the haze, cigarettes have now been thoroughly demonized and pushed out of the public square. All government facilities, nearly all businesses, and the large majority of American homes are now smoke-free.
It would be great if we could say that the air we breathe is no longer harmful.Continue Reading