'I have the right to breathe'
My stand on smoking bans
Our readers give their views on smoking bans in New Zealand. Where do you stand on the issue?
I don't smoke and never will. For years, most of my life in fact, I have had to put up with sitting in rooms clouded in tobacco smoke, walking through groups of smokers on my way to and from school and work. I had to put up the teasing from young smokers and the odd older one as I coughed, wheezed and reached for my inhaler.
I am asthmatic and tobacco smoke is one of my triggers.
Until smoking in pubs was banned, I couldn't spend more than half an hour in one. When smoking in the workplace was banned, I finally could take time to eat slowly in the lunch room rather the bolt my food and run if someone lit up.
I am also pleased to note that the gutters of most streets are no longer littered with discarded cigarette butts left to wash into drains and pollute the waterways. I am sure the fish are too.
At long last my right to breathe has been taken seriously. When invited to dinner at a restaurant, I no longer have to worry about whether the table is going to be near the smoking section.
I can have a leisurely morning tea at a café without the taste of the food being seasoned by the reek of a nearby ash tray.
I can even go to a pub without the fear of ending up standing outside in the cold night air (another asthma trigger) sucking on my inhaler and willing the wheezing to stop.
I look forward to a time when there will no longer be clusters of tobacco addicts around doorways of businesses and workplaces polluting the air I breathe.
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