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.
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!