Smoke. It gets in your eyes, it gets on your clothes, it gets in your lungs. And that’s just being around it, passing through with no action by you. By a campfire or fireplace or at a barbeque. It comes from fire and most of the time it comes with a purpose. Keeping warm, cooking food, burning yard clippings – in the old days. Sometimes it comes without purpose from far away, like the smoke that greeted me as I stepped out my front door today. There are forest fires burning about 50-60 miles away. Far away enough to not be a threat to us, but the smoke from the fires drifts in with the wind.
Smoke is not health and it is good to minimize our exposure to it. That’s why people shift around the campfire to avoid having smoke blow in their faces. That is why it is important to periodically clean out the ashes from the fireplace and make sure the flue is open before starting a fresh fire.
Growing up I knew neighbors who smoked but it wasn’t in my family so I never was tempted to start. I had friends who became addicted and did all sorts of crazy things to continue – like having to stand 25ft away from the nearest building door -rain or shine – here is Washington by law -to smoke during the work day. We had a visitor to our Toastmaster’s club who tried to get people to start. It was vaping, but had just about as many negative effects as the traditional smoking. Fortunately no one bought into it.
I remember in high school the superintendent of students chain locked the boys bathroom doors open to discourage students taking up the habit. But neither that nor the health class warnings seemed to work. Once hooked it is incredibly hard to quit, so the wisest course is to never start.
I was reminded of that when I stepped out my front door today into the atmospheric smoke from the distant fires. I was able to avoid it by not walking and instead just driving to get some groceries and have my car air on recycle not outside air.
Keep the smoke in the places it belongs – like the fireplaces that the company in the sign above makes, where it brings heat and light and comfort. Your body is not one of those, so if you haven’t started -don’t, and if you have – please quit – for your sake and those around you.