Don’t Let The Warnings Fool You

Every smoker who used to smoke has a love affair with the past and thinks about lighting up every so often. In some cases such thoughts occur every single day apparently until the end of time.

The state of Oregon became a “non-smoking indoors or anywhere outside near a door, a school or hospital or dog or child” in 2009 and it’s been great for those who used to have to empty and clean ashtrays on a daily basis. It also lets people go out drinking and to not come home smelling like their clothes have been used to fan a brush fire of Camel Lights all night long.

When tooling around Portland I see throngs of people gathered on the streetsides and sidewalks, talking, watching, standing and smoking. As if the weather deemed it neccessary for people to be outside, as if it were a tropical country where everyone was in the street being seen because it was just too hot to do anything else. In countries and climates that are naturally warm, much of the population fill the streets so it’s a more of a communal society than many Western regions. Now the corners and barfronts in Portland look populated and celebratory. Regardless that those standing outside in droves have been kicked out because their habit has now become a nationwide stigma of poor health and decision, it’s nice to see folks always hanging out in front. (Smoking is still cool in my book. Not smart, but cool.)

On another note, if you’ve ever traveled through Salt Lake City or any other major airport where indoor glass cages with enormous vents that hang from the ceiling (like a toxic cleansing chamber if you’re wearing a yellow haz-mat suit) corral the smoking travelers, look inside and see their faces. Not really a happy bunch and I’ve often wondered if it was the traveling hours, the airline food, or the fact that they’re put on display behind nicotine stained windows to remind the rest of us how sad and lonely it is to smoke cigarettes. (Smoking is still cool. Absolute stupidest habit on earth, but still cool.)

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