A letter to those smokers...
To the three adults smoking on Old Northern Road, Castle Hill, outside of Castle Towers shopping centre on the afternoon of Saturday 14 October 2017.
This letter is for you.
There were three of you smoking right next to a toddler in a pram, and the smoke was blowing in the poor child’s face. That poor child was breathing in at least 250 toxic chemicals, including 50 of which that are known to cause cancer.
I was in my car and moving fairly slowly in traffic. I felt like sticking my head out of the window to give you a piece of my mind, but the traffic was moving so slowly. I feared you would kick my car in a rage, so I kept driving.
I was perhaps lucky I was in my car. If I was passing by you on the street I probably would have probably instantly said something without filtering my thoughts. I’m a loose cannon like that. As I drove by I managed to lock eyes with one of you (the lady standing up next to the man). You met my gaze. I am sure you felt my eyes burning through you because you gave me a dirty look in exchange.
All three of you, grown adults, had no regard for your actions. As a mother with a two-year-old, I felt disgusted and appalled that the poor child had to sit there and be exposed to these toxic chemicals. It was completely unfair! If you have the decency to do it so openly in public, I wonder how often you do it behind closed doors?
This happened more than a week ago, yet I cannot get it out of my mind. The more I think about it, the more I can’t let this pass. Part of me feels like I should just mind my own business, but the other part says I should speak up on behalf of the children who are not able to speak for themselves.
If you choose to smoke, and harm your own health, that is your own decision. But to expose an innocent child, that is not right. You are well aware of how much more dangerous passive smoking is to everyone. But you may or may not know, that children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to develop asthma, croup, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, meningococcal disease, pneumonia and middle ear infections. It also causes impaired learning, slower growth and behavioural changes.
Look, I know you are technically not breaking the law by choosing to do this. But in my opinion, exposing babies and children to repeated second-hand smoke is a form of child abuse. Children need to be kept safe, and they have a right to breathe in clean air.
So, I want to thank you for forcing me to think deeply about this matter. Because you have motivated me to start a petition to change the law. The petition ‘Ban smoking around children in NSW’ can be found on the website change.org if you were keen on signing it?