M. A. Gibbs

Elk City, OK

During the 12 years I lived in another state, the legislature began restricting places where smoking was allowed. I resented this invasion of my “rights.” At first it was just the restaurants, then the bars, then all public buildings. From there it was within 50 feet of any public building, all parks or any public outdoor place such as baseball complexes. Eventually no smoking in public was allowed — ANYWHERE. Smoking was allowed in your house or car. I was so resentful. But then something happened. Being forced to wait for a lawful place to smoke brought about some changes. I began to enjoy restaurants and events. I noticed the wonderful smells of the flowers and the pine trees. I began to be aware that my house didn’t smell very nice and my clothes stank. Also, being limited in the places I could smoke limited the times I did smoke. I found myself smoking less and less. Eventually I just quit. One of the first things I notice now is how the air smells in places which do not ban public smoking altogether. I do not like walking into buildings where people are gathered outside the door because just that limited exposure leaves an unpleasant odor on my clothing. After seeing none at all, I notice the piles of cigarette remains blown into corners and along the curb. I will forever be grateful to the legislature of my former state for having the courage to push forward a very unpopular agenda.