By Alexandra Cochran
Blog Content Contributor
Ever walk into town because you have an agenda or just want to go for a stroll and feel pure bliss from being surrounded by beautiful trees and a fresh breeze when all of a sudden you get a rapid whiff of burning garbage wrapped into paper and named? No matter how far away of a distance you are, or how wide your windows are opened, second hand smoking affects you in all ways. If you’re someone who is bothered by being surrounded by smokers, how do you respectively ask them to stop?
This hasn’t been a long time issue of mine; I’ve regretfully had a handful of nights where I’ve dragged a cigarette or two while socially drinking with friends. Like most people, we’re reaching an age where we’re either just discovering bad addictions or attempting to change them. I for one have really committed to being the best that I can be mentally and physically, and quite honestly, I just can’t get over how the stench of cigarettes lingers on everything. I also realize some people aren’t doing it just socially, but are truly addicted. According to smokefree.gov, scolding, nagging and lectures won’t help friends or family members quit smoking but rather just infuriate and trigger them to smoke.
Luckily, public areas have made it more difficult for smokers to have their fix. As of January 2017, there are 1,757 smoke-free campuses’ which reduce our daily exposure to second-hand smoking. If you tend to travel a lot or go to bars where indoor smoking is allowed, there are respectful ways to dodge the smoke. If these are strangers, it’s probably best to leave the scene completely. If you do know this person, you could say something along the lines of: “I’m pregnant, could you please not smoke right here?” or, “I’m allergic to smoke.” What I do 90% of the time, is tuck my nose and mouth into my shirt until they get the hint because I’m just an introverted chick trying to breathe right without chemicals poisoning my innards. It’s 2017 and most people are aware that cigarettes and the chemicals related to them can kill us. If you’re thinking of quitting, there are instant effects that might motivate you.
- 20 minutes of not smoking: your heart rate begins to drop back down to its normal levels.
- Two hours of not smoking: your heart rate and blood pressure will return to completely normal, circulation improves, and higher experiences with withdrawal symptoms, anxiety and irritability, cravings and sleeplessness.
- 12 hours after not smoking: blood oxygen levels raise to near normal, carbon monoxide levels decrease, allowing blood cells to bond effectively with oxygen which helps you breathe better.
- 24 hours: risk of heart attacks decreases
Whether you’re the smoker or the affected, this addiction can take a toll on all surrounding individuals. If you do decide to continue your addiction, please be considerate to anyone who may be in your proximity as it is easy to become oblivious to the fact that there are more people who mind than those who don’t.
Featured image by Alex Cavazos.