This article is about something that seems to be a big issue amongst young people these days – smoking. Do you belong among the people who wrinkle1 their noses when there is a smoker near them? Or are you a smoker everyone looks down on2?
To be honest, I have friends who smoke, so I have become used to the smell of cigarettes and the occasional smoke that is being blown straight into my face. There are days when I want to yell in the smoker’s face “Thanks for spreading lung cancer3” and there are days where I really couldn’t care less. But here is the most important question.

Should it be banned in all public places?

From the 1st of April 2009, there has been a law in Slovakia for the protection of non-smokers. It says that it is forbidden to smoke in airports, public transport, public transport stops, hospitals, elementary and high schools, universities, youth hostels, children’s playgrounds, theatres, enclosed sport arenas, government buildings, shops, cinemas, museums, galleries, prisons and rehabs. The only exceptions are restaurants (most of them are divided into smoking and non-smoking parts) and cafés. This means that if you’re a smoker and you’re waiting for your bus or tram, you have to be four meters away from the stop to not violate this law4. You are still allowed to smoke normally on the streets, whereas in other countries, that is banned5. There is a debate whether we should agree to this as well, and smokers will have to smoke in their homes or in special places just for them.
Do you agree with this, or not? If you don’t (do), why?

By the way, what is it like in the Czech Republic? Is it the same as in Slovakia?

I personally think it doesn’t make a difference if they do this or not. I mean, you can tell me that “What about the little kids who inhale6 the smoke and are more liable7 to lung cancer and other breathing sicknesses?” I think it doesn’t matter anyway, because the air is polluted from the cars and factories and other bad stuff . Oh, and about the babies. I completely “love” the protective and caring parents who argue about smoking because their little ones are breathing the smoke that is probably reduced by the other people going around, and then they bring their two year- old child to McDonalds and buy them cokes and deep fried8 food daily. They worry about lung cancer and asthma, but they are feeding their children bone-weakening drinks and growth-stopping liquids that could be used for cleaning toilets, and feed them with food that doesn’t resolve9 in their stomachs for months, leading to obesity and high cholesterol. When parents do that, I personally think that maybe the cigarette smoke is better for the babies.

Do many young people smoke? What do you think?

These days, there is a possibility that there are fewer non-smokers than smokers. The age of new smokers is going down rapidly, and it’s not a rarity to see a ten-year-old child coming up to you and asking for a light or smokes. A lot of these kids smoke because they simply want to try it; others smoke when there is some special occasion (mostly parties), and other kids do it because they feel grown up. Other older ones smoke because it might taste good to them or because they want to fit in some kind of society. There might be some cases when they smoke because their favorite celebrity does. Some people might smoke because it reduces their stress, and it calms them down.

If you smoke, do you smoke for one of these reasons? Or is it something else?

I personally don’t smoke because I think it’s stupid to waste money on something like that. And you smell bad when you smoke. Yeah, I think those are the reasons why I don’t smoke.
You know what? Don’t smoke. Stop smoking. Instead, be addicted10 to chocolate. Much tastier in my opinion!

Niamh McCullough

VOCABULARY: 1krčiť, ohŕňať – krčit, ohrnout; 2dívať sa opovržlivo – dívat se opovržlivě; 3rakovina pľúc – rakovina plic; 4neporušiť zákon – neporušit zákon; 5zakázané podľa zákona – zakázané podle zákona; 6/inheil/ vdychovať – vdechovat; 7/lai∂bl/ byť náchylný – být náchylný; 8vysmážaný, fritovaný; 9rozložiť – rozložit; 10byť závislý – být závislý