To The Editor:

Here recently I have had the occasion to be around several public buildings. Upon entering these buildings there is a stench of burned flesh and tobacco along with the debris of cigarette butts. I suppose the stench is from the corrosion that hot air filled with tar and nicotine is doing to the tender flesh of the various smokers’ mouths, throats and lungs. Needless to say it makes me gasp for fresh air as I enter the building.

This letter is not about beating up on those folks who wish to smoke. The statistics and health data are out there that prove the habit of smoking is a bad habit. You can pick up all sorts of literature that will tell you that smoking by human beings causes more deaths each year than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, car wrecks, suicides and murders combined. This letter asks the question of “Why do smokers have to be nasty and filthy with the habit?”

The habit of smoking has been around for centuries so I doubt we will eliminate it. However, for those folks who wish to smoke please have some manners.

Here are some commonsense suggestions I would make to those folks.

(1) If you are in a public area surrounded by other people at least ask those who are around you, “Do you mind if I smoke?”

(2) If you must smoke, consider the wind direction. There is nothing worse than breathing secondhand smoke. Be considerate of other folks.

(3) Please do not stand at the entrance of a building and have your last puff then exhale as you enter the building. Move away from the entrance.

(4) Do not throw your cigarette butt on the ground, the flower beds, or in the entrance of the building you are about to enter. No one wants to pick up after you. Dispose of the remains properly. Be sure it is out then throw it in the garbage can. (I might add this goes for chewing gum, too.)

(5) If you must smoke use the designated smoking area.

(6) If you are a smoker, keep in mind the world does not revolve around you. Have respect and humility for others.

I know there will be folks who read this letter and will say that I am being prudish but I do believe that smokers and nonsmokers can co-exist in our world. I am just asking those folks who choose to smoke to have some manners about it.

I suppose I have “beaten the dead horse to death” with regard to smoking. It would be remiss of me to say that if you don’t smoke, don’t start. Hopefully this little essay will help us to not create some uncomfortable situations for one another.