Outdoor smoking in nearby New Jersey prompts a special shelter for puffers.


Once, the smoking lamp was lit throughout most of the world. Now, how about a 5-foot by 10-foot cubicle? In what may be the biggest come-down since a millionaire lost his pants in the ’29 Crash, smokers in or about the local supermarket here are herded into a small corral, an outdoor, glass-walled bus-type shelter. There they may smoke, and presumably get 10 re-puffs to the puff since all the occupants re-breathe each other’s smoke.

It seems cruel to sentence these smokers to solitary confinement, or at least confinement of 10 people. A decade back, you could smoke in the supermarket, or two decades back in the doctor’s office. John Wayne took his on-screen last puffs as a wounded soldier. Physicians endorsed cigarette brands. So did athletes. So did cowboys. So did the movies. What would “Now, Voyager” be without that shipboard cigarette scene between Bette Davis and Paul Heinreid?

Two years ago, you could have smoked in the supermarket lot, and now it is frowned upon -- someone downwind, frozen in space obviously, might take in a puff. Today, you head for the smoking “shelter.” 

Now, I am not a smoker. Tried in in my wayward youth, as most of us did, but it hurt my teeth in the fourth grade.  I never got hooked (of course, no one told me that I had to inhale the smoke -- I just took it into my mouth and let it go, along with a coughing fit). I come from a family of smokers, and my brother Craig remains a major financial supporter of the Camels manufacturer. I worked as a newspaperman and could hardly see the copy for the smoke in the city room.  Just after high school, I dated a girl who dragged on Parliament, and she let the ashes defy gravity on a long kiss. Then it was back to the cigarette. The addictive effect obviously was not my doing.

So, I respect smokers, in the past and today, though I’d rather they had never lit up and never will. Smoking is demonstrably bad for your health, others too, costly, smelly and not cool.

But up in smoke should go overreactive regulation that sends outdoor smokers to a small corral. Maybe the Big Kahuna also wants that they should  wear placards with the letter “S” in 72-point type. 

Hey, I can move away if I’m in the wind.

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art gunther III July 30, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Yes, a fine and memorable and truthful line from JM, " I think we all need a slightly better attitude and understanding about each others little escapisms... ." To Walden, Yes, I understand that the shelter was provided for the outdoor smokers, but it is a poor idea since they re-breathe each others' smoke, and shoppers seem to glance at smokers not smoking in the shelter, so it is a left-hand way of herding smokers to the place. And, certainly, non-smokers like myself have a right to not breathe in smoke. I just move away. In the old restaurants, I would relocate to an area where there was less smoke. If common sense and mutual courtesy were the rule, and if we accepted our "escapisms," then perhaps we could have less invasive and expensive government involvement.
Kay-Tee of PC July 31, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I have been a smoker since I was 14 yrs old. I always tried to be a considerate smoker. I didn't smoke around people who didn't smoke, had breathing problems, or around children. Then you couldn't smoke inside at work. Then you couldn't smoke in restaurants. Then you couldn't smoke in bars. Now you can't smoke on the platform waiting for the train. When I commuted to Grand Central everyday, I always stood well away from others, preferably downwind. This is getting totally ridiculous. I'm reminded of what my sister said to me one day. She said that if she was locked in a garage with a carton of cigarettes for a day and smoked the whole carton, she'd come out alive. If she was locked in that same garage with a car running, she'd be dead in minutes. So how come cars aren't banned as life threatening? Or are we to believe that the smog in Los Angeles is caused by smokers? Also, for those who think more taxes are in order, when everyone finally does quit smoking, do you really think the government is going to say - 'Great everyone stopped smoking, no problem, we can do without that tax revenue'. Think again. They'll find something that affects another group of people. Maybe something YOU do, or drink or eat that will be deemed unacceptable. Be careful what you wish for, it might impact you in ways you hadn't planned.
Kay-Tee of PC July 31, 2012 at 04:00 AM
That is all very true. Plus, you forgot to mention third hand smoke. What's next - fourth, fifth and sixth hand smoke?! A major medical center in the area is now totally smoke free. If you want to smoke you have to go stand in the road. I hope not to be taken there if I get sick as when I'm released, I might get arrested for smoking in the car as I'm leaving the parking lot on their property.
Yorktown Tattler July 31, 2012 at 04:06 AM
it upsets me alot to see young people smoking. I always want to ask them, why do you want to shorten your life?
BirdFluJumped July 31, 2012 at 05:39 AM


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