I recently filed a complaint to the Property Management of our condominium after inhaling cigarette smoke numerous times in the corridor going to our enclosed parking area in the third floor. The tipping point was when I still inhaled smoke going out of the elevator together with my wife and my 3-week old baby boy. I was so angry I threatened to sue the Property Management for negligence in enforcing its policies. I got a reply and they suspended one of their employees after their investigation.
I’ve been more vocal against smoking when my wife got pregnant and later on when my first child was born. That’s why as much as I do not want any confrontation, I tell those who smoke in no-smoking areas to put it out or I report them to the authorities.
A couple of months ago, we hired a nanny in preparation for the coming of our baby. I fired her in less than a week after finding out that she was smoking in the condo unit. For me, smoking when you’re supposed to take care of the baby is non-negotiable. So I had to let her go.
When my wife and I were in Aklan, we were waiting for the airport to open at 12m.n. because it’s not 24-hour airport. There was a passenger who started smoking in the waiting area. I politely approached him and told him it’s a no-smoking area. He stopped smoking.
Just this weekend, we stayed in an Airbnb-type condo unit in Tagaytay. While sleeping, I smelled cigarette smoke coming in the unit. I saw people from the adjacent unit smoking in the terrace. I reported it to the guard. But when the smoking spree continued, I had to confront them. They followed and stopped smoking.
Should I be thankful that these people have been penalized or stopped when I told them that it is wrong to smoke in no-smoking place?
Should people reach to a ‘motivated phase’ (like having a baby to protect) first to exert effort and provide action against these smokers?
Should there be effort to take action in the first place?
Various research and statistics have linked lung cancer and cigarette smoking.  There are also studies linking passive smokers (second hand smokers) and lung cancer. 
That’s why I’m really wondering why it should be the non-smokers who should adjust and exert effort in reminding smokers where to smoke.
And the trend is rampant everywhere- you can see smokers in schools, park, police station, hospitals etc. There is an existing law, Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 (RA 9211).  But it seems that there is very little effort in enforcing it. Or may people think it is less priority compared to drugs, murder and so on?
I do not condemn smokers’ right to smoke. A lot of my co-workers smoke and even some of my relatives. However, this ‘freedom’ is not absolute. The sad part is, we have created (and allowed) a culture that allows this freedom to harm others even if there are boundaries and safeguards set.
I remember when my granduncle told me that he started smoking in his 20’s. He is already 70 (and still smoking, unfortunately!) and he doesn’t have lung cancer while his friend who is a non-smoker just died of lung cancer. His conclusion was that smoking does NOT lead to lung cancer.
I will not stop reminding, confronting and fighting to put smokers in their proper place. Because there is! They just have to look for the designated smoking area.
I’m still hopeful that there will come a time when non-smokers won’t have to cover the noses while walking or confront or report smokers in non-smoking places.
Going back to the suspended employee in our condo because of my complaint, should I pity about the poor guy who won’t receive a day’s pay? Should the condo resort to more humane means of penalizing the offender?
This is not only for the suspended employee but to all those who openly smoke in non-smoking places-
Is there a way for passive smokers to un-inhale the smoke that they have inhaled?
Who should be given pity now? Or in better need of justice?