Monday, 9 July 2012


Smoking is bad. It's really, really revolting, there is NO good about it, not one single, microscopic good thing. None. I dislike it intensely. It is horrible.

I discovered this morning that someone who spends a lot of time with my children has started smoking - this person didn't smoke when I met them, and says they don't smoke often now, but does smoke. 

This person smokes and then spends time with my children.

I have very strong feelings against smoking and particularly smoking around my children. 

I do not want them seeing smoking and it becoming normal for them - the way it was when I was a child, and all the adults around me did it. 

I do not want them inhaling smoke, and having it invade their tiny, perfect bodies.

I do not want them smelling smoke, smelling OF smoke, ever feeling like or thinking smoking is something that it's ok to do. Because it isn't.

I told this person - who I otherwise like very, very much and who my children adore - that if she smoked around them, or smelt of smoke when she was around them, I would stop her seeing them or spending time with them.

She was upset - but agreed to stick to that and promised they would never know she smoked or see her, or anyone else she knows, smoke. That made me happier, but I still felt betrayed somehow that she had done it at all when she knew how I felt about it and then arrived to see my children.

I hate smoking. My incredible grandmothers, both of whom smoked, died of cancer. One very quickly, both very ill and suffering, and it breaks my heart that something so foolish took them from us all, that I could still have them in my life - in my children's life - but for that. 

I grew up around smokers, my parents smoked around us every day when I was young, and I never questioned it. When I was at school I tried it, hated it. When I was in sixth form I tried it again, liked it, carried on. I smoked on and off from then until I was 24 and got pregnant. I stopped because the tiny life inside me mattered a damn sight more than smoking did to me.

Don't get me wrong - I liked it. I liked it a lot. There are days now when I think I would quite like to smoke, because I liked it. 

But my children matter more. A LOT more. A quite frankly in a different WORLD amount more. 

Before the children, when I smoked, I knew all the risks and dangers, the harm and poison, the health effects and ruin that smoking could - would - do to my body, and I ignored it. I did what everyone does each time they pop a cigarette in their mouth - I justified it with 'we all die of something' and the idea that those things happen to OTHER PEOPLE. But they don't. 

Each and every cigarette you have kills cells, kills them dead, totally totally dead. Every one kills an area of your lungs, meaning you can't breathe as well as you could before it. One might not seem to do much damage, but it bloody well adds up.

My Grampa, who is in his 70s and should, by all rights, be pretty sprightly, smoked - and he now has COPD. The result of this is that getting off his sofa is enough to make him pant and gasp desperately for breath. He has an oxygen tank in a rucksack and a pipe that pumps it directly into his nostrils, because just breathing in doesn't work, his body can't absorb enough oxygen from simple air to keep him alive. So he has to add more, in pure form, just to be able to get off his own sofa. 

That's what smoking did.

Smoking took my Grandmothers - incredible, strong, beautiful, inspirational women who changed people's lives and genuinely made the world a better place. Gone. Gone horribly. Gone. 

Smoking did that. 

When I was pregnant my Dad still smoked - but he quit after I refused to get in his car whilst he smoked. I refused to put my unborn child in a smoky atmosphere, and I refuse to let my boys be around smoking now. And he quit. My Mum had already quit by then. I am so proud of them both, because they smoked for so many years, but they quit and have both been smoke free for years. 

I won't avoid saying anything to avoid hurting the feelings of someone who smokes and wants to do so near the boys, because it is poison, and I WILL NOT deliberately put my children in a room where they are BEING HARMED by someone DELIBERATELY to avoid someone getting a bit upset.

Smoking is a choice people make - often intelligent, lovely people - knowing all the facts. Knowing it is dangerous, that every single one harms their health. Smokers know, and choose to do it anyway. 

If you choose to do it, then carry on - but don't think for one second that I will let you do it to my babies.

People who smoke, who may be offended by this - look at it this way.

Would you let someone take your child out in their car without a seatbelt?

Would you let your toddler cross a busy road alone?

Would you let your child drink water from a bucket filled with cleaning products?

Would you let your child go outside in the snow wearing nothing but underpants?

Would you let someone terribly, terribly drunk babysit?

Would you leave your children alone by a lit fire?

If you said no to any of those, then why on earth would you be ok with someone smoking around your children, or doing so yourself? With those things there is a chance that your child could be harmed - it isn't certain, but there's a chance of it. 

With smoking your child WILL be harmed - and you will too. Every single time. 

That is why nobody is allowed to smoke around my children. Because I can't protect them from everything, but I CAN protect them from something we all KNOW is harmful. It IS harmful. There is no defence that can disprove that. People can make choices despite knowing it - but they absolutely cannot disprove it. It is fact. Smoking is harmful.

So don't do it around my babies. 

Thank you.

Oh, and if any of the very, very few people I know that smoke who do want to see my babies - e-cigarettes are a way of poisoning yourself without passing it on - and may be so rubbish that you just give up altogether anyway! Worth a try!

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  1. You make a powerful point. I smoked for a year or two in my late teens. I tried it because I wanted to know what it felt like to smoke but eventually quit when I decided I didn't like doing it. I try to keep my children away from any smoky environment but I do worry about what will happen when they get old enough to become curious about it

    1. I hope that my boys learn enough to know better - and that if they are curious enough to try that images like this put them off sticking with it

  2. Grey post. I couldn't agree more! My family never smoked, except my dad when he was young. When he found out that my mum was pregnant, he quit. They knew that smoking is harmful 30 years ago, so I hate to hear my husband mum talking bulshit that she didn't realised that smoking harms an unborn baby and poisoned him, gave him asthma, eczema and blindness in one eye! He can blame her now. It is her fault!

    1. I meant great post, not grey ;)

    2. Sorry for all the typos but I am furious! This subject really really upsets me!

    3. Your poor hubby :-(

  3. Well said! My mother in law to be kicked off big time when I went mental after she had lied about smoking around my eldest (the other two didn't exist at the time!) she said it was her right to smoke in her house if she wished. Whilst that may be right, I told her in no uncertain terms that I'd she wishes to do so, that my daughter would not be allowed in their house. She kicked off so much that she did not see said child for 9 months after that. Coincidentally many incidents have passed since then, other incidents of her putting my children in risky situations without our consent, and she is no longer part of their lives. It's her loss, my 3 girls are better off without her. Grace x

    1. People get very defensive of their rights and their choices when it comes to smoking. All I can think is that they behave like that because they KNOW they are in the wrong and refuse to change it. It isn't too hard, people quit every day - for all that the drug is addictive it's still a choice. It takes three days for the drug to leave your system and your body to stop craving it. That's it.

      I'm sorry for your mister that it turned out that way - but glad that you stuck to your guns to protect those beautiful babies.

    2. Stu was just as furious as me, but it was better for everyone if I was the one who confronted her as I can say what I need to without the need for excessive swearing and flaring of tempers! I won't allow anyone to put my children in any harmful situation, no matter how 'close' they may be. I tried to explainhot MIL how terrified I was of the increased risks of cot death and SIDS but she laughed it off like I was making it up. My mum and dad were smokers years ago, and now they can't tolerate it either. My nan and grandad had one leg between them as a direct effect of smoking on their circulation. If someone wants to harm themselves, go ahead, but dont subject my children to it!

    3. It's the wilful denial of facts that scares me - people KNOW, they do, we all do, how harmful it is - but because they want to do it they switch that all off.

  4. Spot on. My dad smoked most of his life. He gave up, on his own, no NHS help, cold turkey. He stayed smoke free for years. Then, due to stress, he started again. This time he was older, weaker. Not strong enough to give up again. It killed him in 8 years. Not of Cancer, but of pretty much everything else that it does to you. His heart and lungs were completely FUBAR by the end. It also left me with asthma, 'cos I was brought up in a smoking household. So I agree wholeheartedly. My dads generation didn't have the information until it was way too late. It was seen as 'normal'. We now know better. So ANYBODY that smokes now is, quite literally, suicidal. And, if they smoke in the presence of others, because we know the effects of second hand smoke, they are homicidal, too.

    1. I'm sorry about your Dad - it's so awful to lose people, and to lose them that way. I totally agree with your last two sentences though. Completely. It won't take long for more people to view it that way - but right now there are people who still feel very strongly defensive of their choice to smoke, and that makes me sad.

  5. I agree with every single word.

  6. My hubby was brought up by chronic smokers so started smoking at age 7. No one stopped him. Since kids were born he was banned from smoking in the house and around them. He has quit for 8 whole days now with the help of an e-cigarette and I couldn't be prouder. Great post!

    1. Well done him - that is wonderful news for you all - congrats to MrMccers and I hope he succeeds in keeping clean!

  7. Totally agree with this. My OH smokes and is so relaxed about it. I feel like every day is a battle to get him to realise how toxic it is for him. But if he wants to smoke that's his issue - he's a grown man, i can't tell him what to do and if i try i just get accused of nagging. However i will absolutely NEVER stand for him doing it around our 3 month old son and i don't want him growing up seeing it and thinking its the norm. The worst smokers are the ones who don't believe/acknowledge/care about just how foul it is for them and those around them. Sadly my OH falls into that bracket at the moment :( x

    1. I hope he manages to quit, it is difficult, particularly if his social circle do it too.

  8. I grew up around smokers and smoked myself briefly a a teen but gave up when I had my daughter.
    I find it a disgusting habit and used to hate coming home smelling of smoke from a night working in a pub so I am so glad they banned it.
    What really pisses me off is the mums that drop their kids at school and then all stand by the school gates and spark up. I then have to walk through the cloud of smoke with my young daughter AND those that smoke on the beach and leave their butts in the sand!! I've had to rescue a couple after my son and daughter have picked them up!
    At tank Fest last week, someone walked past and exhaled a huge amount of smoke over Eliza aaaahhhhh drives me insane!

    1. It's worrying how thoughtless people can be (I apply this to all kinds, not just smokers!) not thinking about how what they're doing affects others - or knowing and just not caring!

  9. I grew up seeing my Grandparents smoke and never thought anything of it, but when my mum started smoking when I was 8 (there was lots of stress over money and dad's job) I wouldn't go near her. At first she tried to hide it and that made it worse. Mum became sneaky. I wouldn't talk to her or cuddle her when she smoked. She became a different person. Thankfully she later quit and is really quite anti smoking now.

    Smoking killed my Uncle when he was 52. He was riddled with cancer when he died. I saw him in hospital not long before he died. He looked like a concentration camp victim. He was surrounded by people on the ward coughing up their lungs. I always think smokers should be taken there to be shown what could or will happen. It was a place of nightmares.

    But what really sends me off into a spin is pregnant women smoking. My Samuel was in NICU for 8 weeks and we use to see pregnant women or new mothers outside the maternity ward in their dressing gowns puffing away. I've not picked up a cigarette since my 5 mins of smoking when I was 18. I was so healthy during my pregnancy, I tried really hard to follow all the advice and there were these women with no regard for not only their bodies, but their little babies.

    Oh and if anyone smokes anywhere near my boy, I have no qualms to ask them to dispose of the cigarette immediately. Thankfully none of our nearest and dearest do smoke, but the idea of someone who does, picking up my boy and cuddling him with their fag infused skin and clothes, NO WAY!

    Anyway, great post!!

    Zoe x

    1. Hi Zoe, thank you for commenting and sharing your experiences. I'm sorry for the losses in your family, and I'm glad that your little one is well now.

  10. We still struggle with the type of idiot that knows they shouldn't smoke in a room with children and so they make a token effort by smoking standing in an open doorway oblivious or indifferent to the clouds of toxic smoke billowing into the room.

    one of the saddest things you can see is the face of a little child trapped in the back of a car with an abusive parent smoking in the front. Literally strapped down in a gas chamber being poisoned by the one person who should protect them.

    1. That, pregnant smokers and people smoking right outside schools are the ones that make me most angry.

  11. Both my parents were heavy smokers, so in effect I was a smoker from birth till 17, when I moved out. My dad gave up smoking when I was 12, but my mum, despite years of pleading, arguments and all in between, refused to give up smoking... that is until her first grandchild was born. It was the best present she could give us!

    On the other hand, my father-in-law, who is undergoing lung therapy and struggles to breathe continues to smoke. This really pisses me off!

    Smoking is such an awful and disgusting habit. It is so sad so many people, knowing the effects, still take it up today!

    1. I think the power of self delusion regarding smoking is immense, and I hope that over time it changes more than it already has. There has been a drop in young people taking the habit up and I really hope education and changes in legislation about the selling of cigarettes continue that downward trend.

  12. Amazing how you've only published comments that agree with you. A trait that seems to suggest you might be forever resigned to a blog, rather than a proper (paying) column in a magazine! While I agree with you on the fundamentals of smoking and the absolute disgust of people smoking around your children, I am quite disgusted that you are so judgemental. That sort of thinking is immature, shows no understanding of addiction and is an awful example for your 'beloved' children. Plus, banning people from smelling of smoke around your children, is so pompous and self important, I almost haven't even got the energy to tell you that smelling smoke on other people WON'T harm them!!! Perhaps you should take a look in the mirror too, before you judge other people, as I've just read an eye opening article on a more informed blog about the psychological damage done to children who hail from overweight parents!

    1. Perhaps you should just respect other people's opinions about what they want, which is valid, surely? Respect, rather than going in for some ridiculous, unneccessary character assassination which is unfair on the writer.

    2. Hi Anonymous - thank you for mustering the energy to comment. I think it's a shame you left no name, or real indication of who you are - it's a little ironic considering. As you saw your comment went live right away - aside from spam, they all do. It's just that most people agree that smoking is just bad, m'kay.
      I think it's important that you hit google a little regarding second and third hand smoke lingering on clothes and skin, and the harmful effects it has on health - particularly the health of children. The smell of smoke really is harmful.
      I would hit you up with some links, but I'm sure you're capable of googling - or even asking a health expert. The facts are there.

      You're bang on about me being overweight though. Thanks for coming!

  13. Dear 'Anonymous',

    The position of anonymous internet troll is somewhat below that of blogger on the scale that runs from "proper column(nist)"

    I am somewhat disappointed that while you somehow found the energy (thank God!) that the smell of smoke is not harmful you didn't have the energy or wit beforehand to Google the term 'Third-hand smoke'. Had you done so you might have seen one of over 3 million results that would inform you that residual smoke smells are indeed harmful and carcinogenic.

    Aside from that I think your point that she is fat was fair and very well articulated.

  14. I know this is an old post but I saw the word smoking at the side of your blog. I agree with everything you have said and just posted on my blog today about how the no smoking indoors ban has made my life so much better.

    1. Thank you - I think it's changed everyone's lives for the better - it does mean beer gardens are pretty much off limits all summer though ;-)

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