Just stop it

I used to smoke when I was younger (cigars and pipes, mostly). I started so I could hang out with those of my classmates who’d get together for a cigar after dinner. I shouldn’t have; I remember being trapped as a child on long drives while my father smoked cigars and my mother smoked cigarettes, and it made me ill, sometimes.

I continued during my time on a submarine, which was really stupid, considering it was an enclosed and recycled atmosphere. As electrical division officer, I got to see the grease and ash on the electrostatic precipitators when we tore them apart once for maintenance. It was a stressful environment, though, and having a pipe to manipulate allowed me to avoid picking at my fingernails until they bled.

I gave up smoking after I got off submarines, because I got to where I hated how my mouth felt and tasted in the mornings. My parents never gave it up, although they did slow down. My father gave up pipes, but still smoked an occasional cigar up to his death. My mother – I can remember her, a few days before I got married, asking my prospective father-in-law not to offer her any cigarettes at the reception, because her mother would be there, and Mom had never let her know that she smoked.

A few years later, I smoked a cigar that I was given when a co-worker and his wife had a child, and I couldn’t come close to finishing it. The only time I hang out with smokers now is at a Blogger Bash.

All that said, I’m opposed to legislated smoking bans and other government measures (such as the taxes that are so high it becomes attractive to smuggle cigarettes into New York City). Individual entities that want to ban it on their premises have my blessing. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t prefer that people quit smoking due to peer pressure, though.

I mention all this because it’s the Great American Smoke-Out today, and I’d appreciate it if you’d quit. It’s healthier for you. I’m all done nagging, now.

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