April 30, 2020

Grace, The Netherlands: “I find it very frustrating how Europeans view secondhand smoke”

“Smoking is a freedom but you shouldn’t impose your toxic chemicals on anyone else…” READ ON →


Even though I suffered from asthma, I used to smoke heavily. I quit about a year before I became pregnant with my first child. I’ve never looked back and my health has improved tremendously after quitting, not to mention the money I’ve saved because I’m not buying lighters, filters, rolling papers and tobacco or relying on them to “relax.”

As a non-smoker, I find it very frustrating how casually Europeans seem to view the dangers of secondhand smoke.

For example, my neighbor smokes in his backyard which is under our bedroom window and the room constantly fills with the smell of smoke. Fresh laundry or bed sheets don’t stay fresh for long either because of the daily cigarette smoke that comes through my window. When the wind blows it into the room, I have often woken up to an asthma attack, not to mention the health risks it poses to my child who sleeps here, too. On multiple occasions, I’ve politely requested he smoke somewhere else in his yard but he told me that it is his right to smoke on his property. In my opinion, it doesn’t seem right that you should be able to affect someone else’s health with your smoking, especially where there is a child’s well being involved.

I’ve even seen people light up their cigarettes when someone has a newborn in a carry-cot next to them. I was appalled and furious to see that.

These things need to change.

Smoking is a freedom and you have a right to smoke but you shouldn’t impose your toxic chemicals and carcinogens on anyone else. A non-smoker should not have to step out in rain from a bus stop because of smokers. In South Korea, it’s banned and illegal to smoke within a certain distance to public spaces like bus stops. Why not make a law here as well to protect the health of the children and elderly?

— Grace


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Photo by Claudia Lorusso on Unsplash