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I've kept my mouth shut as long as I can stand on this. But frankly, I resent being called filthy. I do smoke, but when with people who are offended by it, I do not. I can wait. As far as being filthy, I change clothes daily (often 2 or 3 times a day - suit, work clothes & dog play clothes), shower daily, brush my teeth often & use mouth fresherners. Since I am often in many gatherings both public and private, I know that I am cleaner than most people, both smokers and non-smokers. I am a squeaky clean guy. And I say that living in a home with 6 German Shepherds.

Having grown up in a society where smoking was commonplace, among parents and relatives who did, then serving 20 years in the military (late 50's thru late 70') where it was almost expected, it is an ingrained habit. Yes, I admit, a habit, I'll even admit an addition. But it's one that relaxes me. I'm going on 60, still basically healthy, but still in a high tech rather stressful job. It relaxes me and gives me time to organize my thoughts.

I know the rules. No smoking in public places. I don't. Don't be an asshole about it. I'm not. Even when outside, if it bothers someone, I don't or move far away. If given a choice to go to places that allow it or don't allow it, like bars, restaurants etc, I will of course, choose the places that allow it -UNLESS the group includes non-smokers who are bothered by it and are an integral part of the group. The I can forego it.

Another point. Where I work, in our small group, it just so happens that the smokers accomplish far more and are far more capable than the non-smokers. They have a much higher work ethic. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SMOKING OR NON-SMOKING. It is merely a personality thing within this group of people. But it is why, I will accept no criticism of the few minutes a day a smoker takes a break to go outside and burn one. A good worker will do good work whether they choose to smoke or not. A not so good worker will be not so good regardless of whether they smoke or not.

Some day it may kill me. No, I'll rephrase that. Some day it probably will kill me. But, I've fathered two kids, raised three, served my country for 20 years in the military, done a respectable job at work and been a tax-payer and contributing member of society for all my adult life. It began when it was acceptable and is part of my life. As long as I obey the rules, allow me to puff in peace. I've paid my dues, including the higher insurance rates.

Often at work, I feel I am the only voice of reason, while many others (smokers and non-smokers) fly willy-nilly making irrational decisions or over-reacting or under-reacting to work day pressures, stresses and requirements. I get the same feeling here, right now on this thread. I just make one stand - I won't be called filthy!

Charliej



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