Thursday, August 09, 2007

Close to Home

Today is Chantix Day 64 and Smoke-free Day 52.

I sure did choose the right time to quit smoking. Remember back on July 17th when I mentioned (as a quick side note) that all this time I had no idea that my apartment building required folks to stand 25 feet from any building to smoke and how I hadn't known that and had blissfully put my feet up smoking away on my balcony (the same balcony that I reclaimed at 4 weeks quit as a non-smoker)?

My apartment complex is not the only one. In fact, out here in the Great Northwest, many others are doing the same. The Oregonian reported in this article yesterday (don't blink, you'll miss it; annoyingly enough the Oregonian's links to articles are not permanent, so here's the main part here forever for when that goes away):
Portland-based property management company Guardian Management LLC will prohibit smoking in half of its 6,000 metro-area apartments starting Sept. 1. Tenants heard of the change last month. New renters must agree not to smoke; existing renters must do the same when their lease expires or on Jan. 1, whichever comes first, said Jim Wiard, Guardian's portfolio manager.

Off-limit areas include apartments, porches and balconies, common areas and any area within 25 feet of the building. The ban applies to tenants, their guests and anyone else who sets foot onto the property.

Instead of saying anything about this bit from the article quoting an unhappy camper, other than that the Northwest does seem to get an unfair amount of rain (and I know because I used to have to stand outside in it to smoke), I'll just leave this part be and let you all do with it in your heads as you wish:
"You move into an apartment, you pay rent, it should give you the right to do what you want like it's your home," said Caldwell, who started smoking at age 7 but quit just before doctors found a growth in his throat. "It's really unfair. Smokers would have to sit on the grass or under a tree in the rain. We should be able to go home, sit on the sofa, light a cigarette, and smoke it."
I haven't quite formed an entirely coherent opinion on all of this just quite yet, so I have none really to share other than this. I do think that as a relatively new non-smoker, it's interesting to think about because I've been on both sides (though, for the record, I refuse to ever admonish or preach to anyone about smoking because as great as it is that I quit, it doesn't make me better than anyone - besides, how well did that work for any of us?).

Oregon is just starting to get serious with a smoking ban starting in January of 2009 in bars, bowling alleys and bingo halls, but the state of Washington has been way more serious since December of 2005 (strictest state smoking laws at the time). I was in for a shock the first time I went to a McDonald's in Washington after the ban and saw a little sign explaining that I couldn't smoke in the drive-thru because it was too close to the building. This Seattle Post-Intelligencer article from just days before the ban captures the implications of the law fairly well.

If you are curious about how your state compares to others on a range of smoking-related issues, I found this American Lung Association Report (from 2006) to be really interesting because you can see where states rank in various categories plus click on any state to see its report card, summary and bunches more information.

Now, regardless how I do or don't or am not sure yet how I feel about different laws, I do know that I've enjoyed not being forced to be around smoke since quitting, and I'd definitely prefer not to be around it if I have a choice, and it turns out that Smoke Free USA has lists by state (well, most states... sorry) of drinking and/or dining places that do not allow smoking. I don't know how often it's updated, and some states have little or no information, but others have plenty of options. (Update: American Lung Association Report and Smoke Free USA have been added to my Linky Loos post)

Just got an email this morning from my friend J that I'll be sharing later because I found it inspiring.


  1. It would seem that rather than ban smoking outright, laws/regulations/rules are slowly trying to force people to quit smoking by making the habit more and more uncomfortable. As a non-smoker, I'm glad that there are provisions in place to keep my exposure to 2nd hand smoke limited, but people being told what they can and can't do in their own homes concerns me, as a citizen.
    Great post.

  2. Very well put, Logan! I agree completely. Whatever happens, it's one more reason I am glad I quit rather than someday feel completely "forced" in some way to quit because it would have been very, very ugly :)

  3. Yeesh. When it comes to the home, it worries me. One of my biggest problems with the smoking bans is that they loop around the real issue: cigarettes are evil and should be banned themselves.

    As a still-smoker, I just wish we could step up treatment alternatives. Everyone paints smokers as dirty pariahs, but why can't folks understand that it is a deep and strong addiction? Where are the 30-day treatment centers for nicotine addicts? Where is the insurance coverage for the same?

    Because, really, if you knew a heroin addict or an alcoholic, would you ever attempt to offer them a patch or a piece of gum and send them on their way?

    This rant comes from my addiction being more mental than physical... why I suspect I was not successful on the Chantix.

  4. Danielle, I agree. Smoking is a lot tougher to quit than I think people realize as some of these laws start getting imposed, and it does take more than a patch (or a pill). You just weren't successful on Chantix *yet* - you will be when you get ready to give it another go.


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