JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The cigarette movement

teen_smoking_080604_main

As I write this I am sitting outside the Bronxville, N.Y. Starbucks, kicking back with a large (I refuse to use B.S. Starbucks corporate lingo) iced coffee and a book (research for my next project). The sun is shining, it’s about 75 degrees, a nice breeze coming in from the west … and a smoker is ruining everything.

Her smoke is blowing everywhere. It’s thick and gray, and she seems to go to great lengths to make sure we all breathe it in. The woman is probably 50, with black hair, red nail polish and excessive makeup covering her face. She’s loud and obnoxious. I don’t know her, but with each puff I’m learning to hate her.

Admittedly, I’m a cigarette hater. I don’t think smoking should be illegal but I strongly believe it should be:

A. Only permitted inside, in designated smoking facilities.

B. Taxed to the hilt. Wanna stop smoking? Make it $100 per box. Yeah, they’ll be an underground trade. But, mostly, people will stop.

C. Harder to obtain.

I want to use this post to try and start a movement. I understand the need to make money, but why are drug stores, gas stations, etc still peddling this garbage? Here’s CVS—a supposedly family friendly chain—hawking a product that, literally, causes cancer in a large portion of those who use it. In the front of the stores—cigarettes. In the rear—medicine. Baffling.

From this point on, I am committing myself to try and make a difference here. I want to start a letter-writing campaign to stores that sell cigarettes, asking them to stop. I am tired of seeing the local 18-year-old boys and girls hanging out outside Cosi and Starbucks, puffing away on this crap. One out of five high schoolers smoke. Think about it—you know it causes death, yet you continue to use. That’s powerful stuff.

If anyone is interested in joining me, drop me an e-mail at: anngold22@gmail.com.

Fight the power.