Take it or leave it – Thank You for Smoking!

Buhle Mweli

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Even though I feel strongly about this piece, I found it really hard to write about, strangely enough. I can recall so many instances when I've been in a taxi, bus, train, you name it and the fumes of a careless 'lil ciggy' threatened to strangle my helpless air-pipe to involuntary slumber. Okay, a bit dramatic I know but that's exactly why I'm not the person to write about this.

Even though I feel strongly about this piece, I found it really hard to write about, strangely enough. I can recall so many instances when I’ve been in a taxi, bus, train, you name it and the fumes of a careless ‘lil ciggy’ threatened to strangle my helpless air-pipe to involuntary slumber. Okay, a bit dramatic I know but that’s exactly why I’m not the person to write about this.

Not only am I adamant that second hand smoke is dangerous, it also just doesn’t sit well in my body. I develop a terrible cough every time someone puffs that air my way and my nose starts to tingle – and not in the best of ways.

We need someone who is objective to dissect this very serious topic. Give us pointers on the scientific or medical dangers of regularly inhaling second hand tobacco smoke. Someone to break down the long term effects of smoke on our ozone layer like only Al Gore can.

Because all I can say about it is that I don’t like it, it makes me sick. No! Not that sick. It’s a source of my greatest physical discomfort – On days when I dare take any taxi, snail pacing on Voortrekker road from Cape Town, and find the taxi-driver avoiding eye-contact because he knows he shouldn’t be smoking. At least the lady I met and started chatting to on a random day in a Metrorail carriage asked me politely before she lit her’s up. I lied and said it was fine and I pretended that the violent coughing and sneezing that subsequently took over was from a fever I had.

I must find someone who is schooled on all legal rhetoric that sheds light on smoking laws. Someone who can tell us about all the legislation that frowns upon indoor smoking. Someone with a higher authority or insight on why smoking in the presence of young children and asthmatic people is something that you just gotta not do.

I feel I am not that person. I don’t know much about all these complex issues. They require someone more learned, more impartial. Someone with a balanced opinion. Because for me it’s just a matter of sense.