I have never smoked a cigarette.

Not even one puff.

I think it was the smell that turned me off. At an early age, the stench was burned into my memory.

I can’t think of one family member who didn’t smoke cigarettes.

On the weekends, I grew up going to smoky bowling alleys and BINGO halls with my grandparents. Road trips meant driving with the windows open just enough so my mom or dad could flick their ashes outside the vehicle. Sometimes the red hot embers would blow back into the car and lightly burn my sister and I.

“Dad,” I would yell, as I quickly extinguished the burning ash.

“Sorry, Son,” he would apologize snuffing out his cigarette in guilt, but it wasn’t long and he would light up another one.

In high school, I despised my peers who smoked.

After school they would take refuge at McDonalds in a booth just out of sight of the cashier. Puffing away and flittering their cigarette into a golden, tin ashtray supplied by the restaurant.

Before school, they would gather at a vacant wooded lot a couple blocks away named the “AT,” which stood for “Ash Tray,” out of sight from from any patrolling policemen. Stale cigarette smoke clung to their clothing and couldn’t be masked by cheap perfume in the sterile hallways and classrooms. Teachers quickly passed judgment and it was easy to identify the smokers with a quick sniff.

Despite never smoking, school officials thought I was a smoker because I lived with my grandfather who was a three-packs-a-day guy. No matter how many precautions I took to keep my clothing smoke-free, I still wreaked of unfiltered Pall Malls.

It is no surprise I hated smoking and avoided it throughout high school.

But things are different today, and kids are not smoking like they used to.

From 2011 to 2017, smoking declined among middle and high school students, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, vaping is on the rise, and so are the concerns.

State of the Vape
The 2018 Monitoring the Future survey conducted by the University of Michigan found vaping among high school seniors increased from 27.8 percent in 2017 to 37.3 percent in 2018.

Unlike cigarettes, vaping is a lot easier to conceal, and it’s almost odorless and mess free — no butts to dispose of or ashes to contend with. Also, there are no laws prohibiting minors from the act of vaping; only to prevent them from purchasing.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s