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Dear Parents -- Yes, I Do Mind If You Smoke

It may be none of my business but it's literally all around me. I breathe it in outside of restaurants, malls, and even at the park.
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The kids are playing, laughing, running. And you are smoking a cigarette. Again.

Nestled in your spot you sit -- sucking in poison and breathing out relief. Every hour you do this. Every hour you miss out. Your kids want to be with you, talk to you, love you. But they have to fight with a cigarette for your attention. And they have to breathe it in just to be near you.

It may be none of my business but it's literally all around me. I breathe it in outside of restaurants, malls, and even at the park.

It's not illegal for an adult to smoke cigarettes and as an adult you have the right to choose. But children don't choose this -- at least not yet.

We spend so much energy talking about what's good for our children. We engage in conversations about healthy lunches, proper education, anti-bullying, respecting rules, toxic sunscreens, BPA-free sippy cups, and endless parenting tips on how to raise intelligent, emotionally healthy, thriving kids. But what about smoking cigarettes around children? How is this still a thing?

Smoking ravages the body. It's pretty much been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be cancer-causing. It robs hours of your time, steals your money, and leaves you anxious for your next plan of escape to have another.

Now before you go off on a rant about how I can be quiet and you will do as you please -- remember this -- it's not just about you anymore. It's about your children.

The effects of second-hand -- and even third-hand smoke -- are significant. When you light up a cigarette around your family and friends -- even outside on your patio or several feet away -- you potentially put them at serious risk.

If you smoked while pregnant -- you knowingly put your child at risk in order to continue consuming nicotine. This is common knowledge. Even the cigarette companies have to put it on the box. There's no way a parent-to-be would not know the risks of smoking while pregnant in this day and age. More likely than not, a doctor would have advised you to quit.

If you smoked while pregnant and your child turned out fine -- that's great. But it doesn't mean it's okay.

Addiction can be powerful. It can consume your entire life, swallowing up your identity, happiness, and productivity. I have personal experience with this. Yes, it's hard.

I'm no saint. I'm just tired of trying to figure out the most polite way to ask the parent smoking next to their kids and mine to cut it out. I'm tired of wondering why they thought it was okay in the first place.

When your child begs you to stop smoking because you're killing yourself and they want you around for as long as possible -- you need to at least consider making an effort.

I know parents who smoke with their kids on their laps, in their cars, and in their homes. I think it sucks for the children and I'm not afraid to say it.

I'm sure I'll offend many with my opinion and disrupt their belief that smoking cigarettes is just part of who they are. I'm sure many will say that drinking alcohol is just as bad.

I think we can do better. The addiction to cigarettes has been glamorized and normalized to no end. It's poison -- plain and simple. The next generations don't need to carry on this legacy of slow suicide.

What do you think? Are you a parent who has felt awkward when someone lights up around your child? What's the proper etiquette for dealing with those who choose to smoke around children?

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