The Anti-Social Non-Smoker

by Morag Robertson.

Smoking kills. Everyone knows it; no one can doubt it.

People aren’t ignorant about this; everyone knows it. But smoking is all around us.

You hear it everywhere. Sitting in the library the students across from me turn to one another and say “Lets go for a cigarette, I’ve had enough.” Sitting on a train from Dunfermline to Edinburgh, on a 30 minutes journey, what do I hear? “Mate, I’m absolutely gagging for a cigarette. This train is taking too long”. Even with my flat-mate- who’s low on money- earlier said, “Morag, I’m sorry if I get grumpy, but I can’t help it, I smoked my last cigarette last night”.

Smoking dominates people’s lives. When it’s been too long, it’s all they can think about. When they’re stressed, it’s what keeps them going. When they’re down, it’s what brings them up.

It scares me. Just that undeniable need for one. For the taste of that disgusting tar. For the coating of your lungs. I just can’t get my head around the fact that people physically can’t stop once they’ve started.

But what baffles me the most is how smoking makes me feel in a more social sense. I feel socially awkward.

The social rejection when you don’t smoke and the majority of your friends do is almost strong enough to make you take that offer of a cigarette.

At parties when I was younger, the majority of the night would be spent in the kitchen, strangely enough, or occasionally the living room. But now when we have parties, people will spend the first 10 minutes chatting in the kitchen, then out they go to the front of the building to smoke their night away.

When you’re in a nightclub, the intention usually is to hit the dance floor, or drunkenly chat on sofas. Yet in the last few months I’ve noticed a significant change in the way the night happens for the smokers.

The minute a drink is consumed, a cigarette is needed, and out they go to the smoking area. I’m left standing at the bar on my own, whilst their night goes up in a puff of smoke.

Smoking was once the anti-social act. But now I’m the anti-social non-smoker.

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4 Responses

  1. Can totally see where you are coming from. None of my friends were smokers when we were at school so I was the anti-social smoker. But when you come to a new environment and meet a vast number of people things change.

  2. I don’t smoke, majority of my friends do and that means if I want to talk to someone I have to endure the smoke. Then my mum comments on how I smell of smoke if I’m wearing the same jacket or something. I get all the consequences of smoking- smelling of it, passive smoke damaging my lungs… and i don’t even smoke. Is this the price of friendship? Maybe I should man up and wait inside when people are smoking.

  3. I was the only one who did smoke when I was at school as well, but by the time we’d reached the final year of school there was next to no one who didn’t. I don’t feel that I spend a whole night in the smokers area but I do agree that when alcohol is involved the ‘social’ smokers come out.

  4. I couldn’t agree more, I also endure the ‘anti-social non-smoker’ tag. I don’t want to smoke or particularly go into an area where everyone is and be engulfed by the stench, but I also do not want to be left in the pub or nightclub myself like ‘billy no mates’.

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