An open letter to “non-smokers.”
First, how to tell if you are a “non-smoker”:
- You smoke only when you are at a bar, party, or other social event where you consume alcohol.
- You smoke only other people’s cigarettes on these occasions, as purchasing your own would make you a “smoker.”
If both of these statements are true, you’re a “non-smoker.” And I kind of hate you.
See, I have not always been a smoker. But I haven’t been a “non-smoker” since I was 16. The difference is that I used to buy a pack of cigarettes (whether I was in my clove, Capri or Camel phase) before I went to a party. And then I would smoke them. I rarely smoked on other occasions, and I once got grounded for having the half empty pack in my purse after a party, but it was worth it.
As an adult, I still buy my own cigarettes, so I smoke whenever I want.
I should be clear that I make a few key exceptions to my hatred of “non-smokers.” My vitriol does not apply to you if:
1. You are a smoker, as in, if you just forgot or ran out of cigarettes today. Also implied in this exception: if I was in the same situation, you would gladly share cigarettes with me.
2. I like you. Not necessarily “like” in the biblical sense. Mostly just enjoy your company and am willing to take a slight financial hit to ensure you have an enjoyable evening.
Because here’s the thing: cigarettes aren’t free. I mean, they’re not free to smokers. They’re free to you, “non-smoker”, because you smoke other people’s cigarettes. Really, you might as well make a cardboard sign and stand out on Speer Blvd.
This has been increasingly infuriating to me as I have become acquainted with habitual “non-smokers.” Back in my college days, these people were classified as lame and we stopped hanging out with them. Post-college, everyone smoked. Or enough of us did that the “non-smokers” in the crowd had multiple sources for handouts.
This is no longer the case. As I get older, there are fewer actual smokers among my friends, but the proportion of “non-smokers” remains constant. So you have a situation of steady demand with decreased supply – more “non-smokers” at every bar and party trying to scam off my pack. And it pisses me off.
Because here’s the thing, “non-smoker.” The world supply of cigarettes remains the same. You can still purchase them at your neighborhood convenience store, gas station, drug store, grocery store, bodega, cigarette specialty shop or outlet, etc. As highly addictive substances go, they are widely available.
And yes, they have gotten more expensive since you were in college. Sofuckingwhat? It’s not like I have a frequent shoppers’ discount card. The only thing I get for free is the eventual cancer, heart attack or emphysema. And I’m actually paying MORE than full price because I’m going to have to buy a new pack tomorrow to replace the ones you smoked tonight. It’s an expensive, stupid habit, and I can’t afford to fund more than one of us.
I also have a job that doesn’t pay me that well, so when coworkers smoke my cigarettes, it’s even more annoying. You know how much money I make because you make roughly the same amount. If I can see my way clear to buy the things I need and want, so can you. I can’t afford a new car, but I don’t expect you to buy one for me to drive around when I feel like it. I live in a small apartment, but I’d never ask you to rent a larger place so I can move in.
The moral of the story, “non-smoker”, is that you need to take some personal responsibility. You don’t have to become a real “smoker” – I know that’s scary for you – but you need to provide for yourself. Of exercise some fucking restraint. I don’t really care which path you choose, as long as you stop smoking my damn cigarettes.