Just so that it’s out there

If my memory doesn’t fail me I think I was 14 when I learned that second-hand smoke was actually much more harmful than smoking yourself.
Then I realized my mother had smoked inside the house, next to me for as long as I had memory.
She would bring all her friends home and they will all smoke nonstop next to me while I was in developing age to make sure I wouldn’t grow healthy and that I had respiratory and growth problems.
For the record, we are not talking about 1950’s farmers who just don’t know any better, we are talking about educated people in the big city during the 90’s, people who are very aware of the dangers of smoking for themselves and for others, especially for children.
Yet she just didn’t care and spent almost 20 years smoking in front of me at every chance she had, even though she knew I had asthma, and that was the single worst thing she could do to me.
So of course when I was old enough to understand what was going on around me,
I confronted her and asked her to stop. Not just for me but for herself and everyone around her.
What was her answer? Crying and screaming as if I was a criminal for asking her to quit. Saying that’s not so bad and she didn’t drink alcohol, so she had to smoke.
I’ve always wondered, what kind of logic was that? The fact that one doesn’t drink allows you to ruin other people lives, and be a pain for everyone around you?
It keeps showing up in my nightmares sometimes, her long curly hair, shaking nervously and shouting hysterically while holding a cigarette called “derby”.
Then she would cry and get violent, say she didn’t have money, while everyone told her, maybe if you stopped spending it all on that vice of yours, to what she replied “It’s my only pleasure in life.”
Anyway, the years went by, asked her time and time again to quit, she didn’t listen, sometimes said she would but never did.
When I was old enough, started taking the cigarettes away from her, as if she was a child, she would again cry and try to hide them somewhere so that I couldn’t find them.
Crazy, right? Or maybe I’m crazy for thinking smoking is bad.
Or for asking my mother to do something for me.
Or for trying to take care of her.
Or for trying to do the right thing.
Or for trying to change her.
It’s been more than 10 years since then and till now I haven’t had a single friend who was a smoker.
Met a few people here and there, but always avoided them and stayed away from them.
So if you’re a smoker and you’re reading this
I know you guys are just trying to look cool or something.
Maybe your excuse is that you are addicted or that all your friends smoke.
Maybe your excuse is that you have always smoked or that you don’t drink so you have to smoke.
You probably hate non-smokers and don’t care what I think.
But now it’s out there.
I’ve had to take your smoke for almost 20 years.
I’ve said what I think of you people.
Now all that’s left is asking you to stay away from me.
Take your carcinogenic fumes somewhere else.
Because I’ve had enough of them.
And I’ve had enough of you.

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