Saturday 18 January 2020

Kicking butts

• In your 'Weekend Review', there was an interview with a man representing the smokers' group Forest Eireann, in which the supposed right of smokers to smoke wherever they like was vigorously defended, while a study suggesting that smoking did no harm but instead carried "risks" was lauded.

It is not anyone's business what anyone else does with themselves so long as it affects nobody but themselves. However, once that activity starts involving other people, it goes from the personal to the social.

Smoking is one of these activities. How many times have I or anyone walked the street and had fumes blown in my face by someone who is not content with ruining their lungs alone but insistent on also ruining mine?

How many times have we been trapped in a cigarette's wake, stuck in a funnel of smoke behind a smoker who literally couldn't give a damn? Many times over is the answer to each question, and while such ignorance doesn't particularly bother me personally, an insistence on the right of the smoker to be so does.

It is not fascist to want to stop the circulation of second-hand smoke in a confined space, any more than it is fascist to prevent the public water supply from being spiked with whiskey.

It is my right and everyone else's to not have their health destroyed, as much as it is Forest Eireann's right to destroy their own.

Until smokers account for the majority of citizens in this country, their rights do not outweigh non-smokers'. Of course, people should be able to smoke if they want to, but it cuts both ways that I shouldn't have to if I don't want to.

I don't mind people smoking when they keep it to themselves, but when it is imposed upon me, I will rebel.

Killian Foley-Walsh
Kilkenny

Irish Independent

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