Dear Smokers, You’ve Got to Cut this Ship Out

BC wildfire

This morning I woke up to an eerie scene. I could tell immediately as I opened my eyes that something was wrong.

The light. It just wasn’t right.

I peeked out the window to stare at the sky and was met with a haze of orang-y grey. When my hubby left to head off to work, he called to tell me that ashes had been covering his truck parked outside. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed I could see that I wasn’t the only one experiencing this freaky phenomenon, and many on Vancouver Island, Salt Spring Island, and all over Vancouver and the lower mainland was in awe over the doomsday sky we were experiencing.

BC is burning.

Our trees, our homes, our fields, our lives. So many people are being affected, in so many ways.

Maybe you will lose your home. Maybe you’re sensitive to the ashes and smoke in the air, keeping you locked inside or – worse – in medical care. Maybe that quiet oasis of a park or trail you run on, swim at, or enjoy with your family will be gone. Maybe you’ll be the one who has to pay the bill for all the damage and destruction through the taxes that will have to be pulled from other public funds (although those emotional bills will never be covered, unfortunately).

Maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s a coworker. Maybe it’s a friend. Maybe it’s your own mother who will suffer from your carelessness.

Dear smokers, you’ve got to cut this ship out.

While I know that I can’t entirely blame the state of our sky and our province on you, with careless campers and other foolish people running about, but I am willing to bet many of these fires started with you.

With that butt that you tossed aside before you entered the mall.

With that cigarette you threw out the window of your crappy car as you were driving around, looking cool stupid after inhaling your poison, and taking no time to think of the fuse you just lit on our powder keg of a tinder-laden environment that hasn’t seen much in the way of rain for months.

Use your head, people!

I’m so tired of so many smokers thinking they’re above everyone else. Thinking their terrible choices are more important than the health and safety of the rest of the world. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had to dispose of your disgusting stained, non-biodegradable butts after my daughter or her friends have been playing outside, digging in the sand or running through the park grass, and they found the “treasure” you left for us (often after you’ve sat there close enough for us to wrinkle our noses and cough your second-hand poison out of our lungs). Did you know that littering is illegal? Do you realize how big of a deuce bag you look like?

I will admit, I used to be a smoker. I understand how easy it is to get pulled into looking and feeling like an “adult” that just doesn’t give a crap about anything. How easily your addiction starts with those first few smokes. How hard it is to quit. How much I still find myself flirting with the idea of a puff every once in a while, even after years without a single one. Quitting isn’t easy. I get it, and that’s not what I’m asking you to do. (And, by the way, I always took care about where I smoked and made sure those butts found a safe place of disposal. Thank you to all the smokers out there that do make this effort. I’m sorry the others give you such a bad rap.)

I’m asking you, smokers, to think before you act. Just like I would expect from every other human on the planet.

I’m asking you to walk away from myself and my child while you destroy your lungs. I have chosen – and tried really, really hard – to give up all that tar and formaldehyde in the best interest of my family and my children. If that’s still what you want to do, by all means, that is your choice. However, when you choose to expose the rest of us to your poor choices, and sit next to us at the beach while you light up, you are being an ash hole.

And when you toss that butt out the window or into the gutter, you are putting us all in danger.

Please, start to take responsibility for yourself. There will be no need to toss out the middle finger when we call you on your ship, if you just take responsibility for your actions and use this magical thing called an ash tray. I understand, it makes your car smelly and devalues your vehicle to have a used ash tray, but if that really mattered to you, you wouldn’t be smoking in there in the first place.

Be warned: If you put a butt anywhere other than an ashtray or an appropriate receptacle after it’s been fully extinguished, I will report you. Your license plate, your car description, your photo will all be taken and reported to the authorities.

I encourage everyone else to do the same. Let’s spread the word that we’re tired of being affected by the carelessness of smokers who just don’t think. Please, share this message and report those who won’t take responsibility for their own trash.

Now, come on rain. We need you.

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