I am a social leper. I am often found lurking outside buildings, loitering in corners, standing in the rain. I am that now rare breed – a smoker. I know, before you say it, that smoking is very bad for me. I know the risks, I know the warnings. I am an educated smoker, not blind to the fact my habit will probably kill me. I care not one iota – we’re all going to die eventually anyway.
Random strangers, however, seem to think it is acceptable to tell me that smoking is bad for my health, that I ought to quit. Here’s a little public service announcement – it’s none of your business what I, or anyone else, chooses to do. Yes, I’m smoking – in public, in the open air, with nobody anywhere near me – apart from you, random stranger – not really doing any harm to anyone but myself. I have not asked for your opinion, I have not engaged you or sought to interact with you in any way. But you have decided to take time out of your day to pass comment on the fact I am doing something completely legal – I am plenty old enough to buy tobacco products, I am not indoors flouting the smoking ban, I am not in an area designated as no smoking, I don’t carelessly discard my cigarette butt.
I don’t understand what it is you are trying to achieve. Are you expecting me to put out my cigarette, rip up the ones still in the packet and declare myself a non-smoker forthwith? Telling me that smoking is bad for my health may ultimately prove to be bad for yours – catch me on a bad day and you are liable to get the sharp side of my tongue.
Think what you like about me and my habit, but please, random stranger, don’t share those thoughts with me because I truly don’t care for your interfering. And now I’m going to make a brew, sit in my garden and enjoy a smoke where nobody can pass comment.