Anyone who gets paid for what they do has an immediate conflict of interest. They are influenced by their superiors, by the need to keep their jobs, by a sense of power and prestige or by the corrupting influence money can have on everything it touches. That is why we have such a struggle with scientific "evidence" when it comes to "proving" the harms of tobacco use and abuse. While people continue to suffer the deadly consequences of tobacco addiction and exposure to public tobacco use through secondhand smoke, the general public is asked to wait for solutions. They are expected to continue to suffer and die while government scientists struggle to gather "evidence" to counter the biased evidence provided by tobacco industry scientists. Even credible evidence presented by respected researchers has to endure the inevitable onslaught of discrediting by paid tobacco industry sources. We are too easy to accept the idea put forth by both sides in this scientific war, that anecdotal evidence has no place in drafting law and public policy. If this is true, then how have we come to a place where tobacco has enjoyed its illegitimate legal position in society for so many decades? In the struggle for the right to breathe clean air, we sometimes sacrifice victory because we have believed the projection that we need to follow rules that give advantage to the other side. What we forget is that we are the majority! Our victory will come very easily when everyone on our side stops supporting the other side. We need to listen to the stories of the thousands, the hundreds of thousands, the millions of people who have stories to tell. These stories all have a common thread that makes scientific "evidence" irrelevant. Each and every one of the storytellers understands a simple fact that rings true with all. Take away the tobacco and the problems also go away! As Judge Judy says: "Don't pee on my leg, then tell me it's raining!"

EXPERIENCE is a collection of short one paragraph descriptions of experiences people have had with exposure to tobacco smoke or other tobacco related topics. It is meant to help dispel the myths about secondhand smoke and tobacco in general. It is an attempt to put everyone in the shoes of those who suffer from exposure to the toxic elements of tobacco smoke pollution and those who suffer from other repercussions of the tobacco pandemic. Hopefully, after reading these descriptions more people will understand how imperative it is to end the practice of smoking in all public places without exceptions and to end the acceptance of tobacco use in general! Please keep these stories short with universal themes. If you are afraid to give your name for any reason, this is the place to post! If you wish to tell a longer story it will be added to the story collection. Remember, although it is not required longer stories carry more weight if you give a name and a contact address or e-mail address. Stories posted here may be edited for length or to eliminate obvious repetition, but will not be posted without your approval of the changes!
Send all stories to The Smokefree Story Project.

  1. I have friends who tell me I am obsessive about smoke. They say it's not as bad as I imagine!  This story I offer to them; Tobacco smoke exposure is cumulative. When I am walking behind a smoker on the street, for example, I can feel the smoke burning my lungs. Most people would say, just walk away, it's just one small incident. But that's not the way it is with respiratory disease. Each is just one of a collection of exposures I will encounter during the day. Each one brings me one step closer to a migraine headache, vomiting, infection, coughing and perhaps chest pain. But all issues of pollution fit this category. In the beginning we think the one small piece of pollution we contribute will be lost in a vast ocean or dissipate in an endless sky. Then one day the garbage from a million people washes back onto the shores or blocks out the sun or creates a hole in the ozone. Then we realize there are consequences to each individual person's selfishness.
  2. The worst experience for me is when people smoke in public toilets. Many times they go there to hide because they are in a building where smoking is forbidden. After a cigarette is smoked in such a small space the harmful toxic effects of the tobacco smoke remain for hours after the cigarette is extinguished. The best ventilation system will remove the smoke, so it appears the problem is solved, but the odorless, invisible toxins remain much longer. Smoke in a toilet cuts off access for persons with respiratory disease to a vital public space and poisons others without their knowledge!
  3. My biggest fear is being trapped in a space where someone has smoked, for example on a train where I have to wait until it arrives at the next station. If I can't get out of the smoke the consequences for me are severe! I have chronic bronchitis and chronic sinus and ear infections because of exposure to smoke from my parents smoking when I was a child. The thing I fear most is infection! I know if I have to take antibiotics again for a severe infection I could suffer for up to six months. Because of the continued use of antibiotics throughout my life, my body now reacts in severe ways. After using antibiotics I will have severe intestinal pain, diarrhea, candida infection, inner ear problems, and problems digesting food. It is imperative that I avoid smoke at all costs in order to avoid infection. With the pervasiveness of public smoking those costs are really high! For me it sometimes seems the whole world belongs to smokers!
  4. My son has asthma. When we go out to eat we always have to ask for seating as far away from the smoking section as possible. For some reason this request is often ignored and we are taken to a table next to the smoking section. Then we have to demand to be seated at another table! Already our dining experience has been spoiled! We have been in restaurants where the  smoking section is in another room with a door separating the two sections. The door is always propped open to allow the waiters free access. We close the door, they open it, then we have to leave because it doesn't work, the smoke comes into the entire restaurant. My son has to suffer, our whole family has to suffer so the persons who smoke won't have to pay the consequences for their decision to smoke. I've even had people tell me it's not their fault that my son has asthma. When I watch him doing his breathing treatment because of exposure to cigarette smoke I am aware of where the responsibility for his illness really lies!
  5. I work in a government office in the Netherlands. To resolve the issue of smoking in the office the government created a smoking room to protect workers from the secondhand smoke. The smokers protested saying they were being treated like second class citizens. The truth was they didn't want to sit in their own smoke!  It was decided that a vote would be taken to resolve the issue. The smokers decided it was better to allow smoking at their desks. I am the only one in the office who doesn't smoke. I am the only one who voted no! I am plagued with sore throats, sinus infections and headaches. I know it's from the smoke. When I go on holiday the diseases go away. I am afraid to speak up for my right to breathe clean air because I am afraid it will jeopardize my ability to work with the others. I am alone in an office full of smokers. The government is the one who should speak up for my rights! I understand why the smokers don't want to smoke in a small room. If they can't wait to go outside for their next cigarette they should quit smoking. My health is jeopardized to protect an addiction to a drug! It's simply unjust
  6. I live in Berlin where it is forbidden to smoke in the U-Bahn (Underground). In one particular station everyone is smoking anyway. It is so bad you can see and smell the smoke when you come into the station. The tracks are filled with literally hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts from passengers who throw them away before boarding the trains. One day I went to the station manager to complain. He told me he understands me because he also doesn't smoke, he knows the situation is bad, but he doesn't have the authority to stop them. He was unable to tell me who has this authority! Another day I was in the same station and I saw this station manager inside his booth smoking a cigarette. My message is: when you need someone to defend your right to be smokefree be sure it is someone who doesn't smoke. When someone tells you they don't smoke, then defend smoking, assume they are lying! Sometimes the foxes are guarding the chicken coops!
  7. I deal with secondhand smoke by holding my breath! I think I was doing it unconsciously for years until one day I  became conscious of doing it. To see it consciously was really frightening. When I see someone ready to light a cigarette or notice someone walking toward me my body takes over involuntarily. For me the effect of secondhand smoke is almost instantaneous if I breathe it into my nose. I imagine my sinus cavities are a mass of scar tissue from the chronic infections my entire life. My head throbs the moment I come into contact with smoke! For me the only way to avoid being sick is to avoid inhaling smoke. I choose to live in the world, to socialize, to participate publicly instead of locking myself inside my own home. This means I spend a good part of my life holding my breath. Sometimes I image that when I'm holding my breath my spirit dies a little from being so passive about my fate! To imagine all the smokers of the world suddenly caring about what they inflict on me and others seems an impossible dream! So I will continue holding my breath until smokers realize their smoking harms other people!
  8. I was married to a chain smoker for 21 years. He was also inclined to beat me occasionally, back when domestic violence was considered a family issue! My husband died from lung cancer a few years ago. Now I have been diagnosed with lung cancer also, even though I have never smoked! The officials who do not take exposure to ETS seriously remind me of the policemen who used to come to my door when my husband was beating me. They would look into my bloodied face and tell me it was not an issue for the police, it was between my husband and myself!
  9. I live in Frankfurt, Germany in a small apartment on the top floor of a high-rise building. In many German apartments there are common air vents in the toilets. Although I do not smoke and do not allow smoking in my apartment, my bathroom is often filled with tobacco smoke from the apartments below me. My complaints have been ignored and the common attitude is that I should move out of my apartment if it bothers me. That is the common justice for victims of passive smoke in Germany! It is assumed there is something wrong with people who cannot endure tobacco smoke. They think we are weak! I have attempted to close the vent from my toilet to resolve the problem, but still the smoke finds it's way through!
  10. I trained as a pilot in the British military. I then flew commercial passenger jets for forty years. In the cockpit I was usually the only one who didn't smoke. I thought I was being a nice guy by not complaining about smoke in such a confined area. Since smoking was allowed at the back of the plane I thought it inconvenient to ask them to smoke there because they were always too far away when needed. I thought it was asking too much to expect them to go the entire flight without a cigarette. Now I regret not speaking up for my right to breathe clean air. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I have been diagnosed with emphysema from being exposed to secondhand smoke in such a small space over so many years!
  11. Sometimes even other people who don't smoke can be insensitive to those of us with respiratory disease. Some of my friends will intimidate me into silence with comments about my being too outspoken on the issue of secondhand smoke. They believe I'm only bothered by the smell of smoke, but in reality it makes me seriously ill. I once believed as they do, but I learned the hard way that I was wrong, that staying in the smoke eventually has severe consequences! My speaking up so often is not the problem! The problem is that smoking is so prevalent I am forced to speak up often. The solution is to ban all smoking in public! It's as simple as that! I have a right to breathe clean air!
  12. My husband and I were invited to a party by a very close friend. There were to be several other people at the party who were at least casual acquaintances of ours. It never occurred to us that anyone would be smoking at the party because we simply don't know anyone who smokes. When we arrived at the host's home we realized immediately we would have to leave. The smoke was so thick I was unable to stay long enough to find my friend to explain why we had to leave. My friend is angry with me for leaving! She thinks my problems with smoke are in my head. I have emphysema for God's sake! Why is everything that deals with tobacco so unbelievably backwards?
  13. I was seated outside at a restaurant in Europe with three friends. After ordering our food a French couple sat at the table downwind from us. They both lit cigarettes and the smoke drifted over our table. I motioned for the waiter and asked to be moved to another table on the opposite side of the French couple. My communication was only with the waiter because my previous experiences confronting the French about smoking have made them aggressive. Because of this I never even looked at the couple as we were moving. The French woman became very angry anyway, calling us arrogant Americans! All I wanted was to have my meal in peace without smoke and without a confrontation! In reality it should have been they who had to move! It was another example of what happens when drug addicts are confronted with the consequences of their addiction! From the perspective of the smoking culture, people who don't smoke are obviously required to endure our unjust suffering in silence and with no resolution!
  14. I live in a tobacco growing state, so sometimes it seems we will never ban smoking in public places. The other day I was shopping in the supermarket when a man lit up a cigarette beside me. I asked him to put it out, but he ignored my request. I went to the manager who informed me there is no law in Tennessee that forbids smoking in supermarkets! I had always assumed there was a law against smoking around food. I had no idea we were that far behind the times! I can only assume the manager of the supermarket is also a smoker! I'm sure they can ban smoking in their own store without a state law to back them up!
  15. Since I have respiratory disease it's imperative that I have total control over my own life at all times. I'm sure there are people who think I've became antisocial, but  I'm merely trying to protect myself and my health. The moment I let someone else have control they forget I'm devastated by exposure to secondhand smoke. Then I begin to look like the habitual complainer, the person obsessed with smoke. I walk a tightrope between the insensitive habits of smokers and misconceptions of friends and family. Because of the acceptance of public tobacco use I am many times left with no choice but to stay home! I don't want to be fighting all the time! I just want to take for granted that I can go everywhere like everyone else does.
  16. Because I've chosen to be smokefree some people assume there's something wrong with me. They tell me I'm unhealthy, but I feel better than I've felt in years. I was always sick before I started demanding my right to breathe clean air Now I am reminded daily of the acceptance of nicotine addiction in our society. It's like everyone around me wants me to go back to my old ways so I won't keep reminding them of how ridiculous smoking is. It would be much easier for everyone if I wouldn't rock the boat! There are still times when I find myself holding my breathe in silence so everyone won't think I'm a trouble maker!
  17. Secondhand smoke outdoors harms people! We need to repeat this fact until it is imbedded in the consciousness of everyone, smokers and smokefree people alike. When I ask smokers to stop smoking they think it's enough to say, "but we're outside!" and that relinquishes them of responsibility for the people they harm when they smoke outside!
  18. People who do not have asthma sometimes abuse the little information they know about the disease Some believe most asthma is brought  on by stress. Others believe it is psychosomatic, that the sufferers imagine they are harmed by their environment. These are typical excuses smokers use to relinquish responsibility for causing asthma attacks with secondhand smoke. Asthma is a very complex disease. Most who suffer know the difference between stress related asthma and environment related asthma. Asthma created by secondhand smoke is seldom if ever brought on by the stress of seeing a lighted cigarette! There are more than 4,600 chemicals in the smoke from a cigarette and 40 have been proven to cause cancer. Those chemicals include cyanide, arsenic, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and ammonia, just to name a few! Many of my asthma attacks brought on by exposure to cigarette smoke happen before I even see or smell the cigarette because many of the toxins in tobacco smoke are odorless.
  19. People who don't smoke often sit in secondhand smoke at an outdoor cafe or restaurant afraid to speak up for their right to breathe clean air. They believe people will think they are crazy for complaining outdoors. Silence only supports the myth that smoke outdoors isn't harmful. If we don't speak up this myth will never go away! It is not rude to ask someone to stop harming you! It is very rude, however, to continue harming someone who has made you aware of your harmful action! This is often the response of smokers outdoors!
  20. I go to a small travel shop in Southeast Asia to do my e-mail each day. I go to this particular shop because there is a very obvious sign that says no smoking! One day two French men came to use computers. They lit up cigarettes and I immediately pointed to the no smoking sign. They gave the usual, "Yeah, Yeah" response and continued to smoke. For me it was already too late, I had to leave the shop because I was already sick. They put out their cigarettes then began to laugh, pointing to me as if there is something wrong with me. When I talk about this kind of behaviour in Germans and French I am sometimes accused of generalizing. I am simply pointing out that these two particular cultures allow excessive tobacco smoke abuse within their own countries, so smokers from these countries seem rude and aggressive in places that respect the right to breathe clean smokefree air!
  21. I was on holiday with a group of friends who do not smoke. One member of our group met a French couple who smoke. She told them I have asthma and they shouldn't smoke when I am around. I appreciated this gesture, but later realized it wasn't enough. My friends sit around the table with the French couple smoking, so when I arrive it looks as if the problem is me, not the smokers. I am then put in the position of asking them to stop smoking or leaving to avoid their smoke! They already know I have asthma, but do not put out their cigarettes when I arrive. Ten people, only two are smokers and the smokers dictate the policy! The French woman has cancer and is doing chemo therapy, but still smokes. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.
  22. I witnessed the death of a very close family member to lung cancer from smoking. I was proud of the way she fought to stay alive. She had tried to quit smoking several times, but her husband wouldn't quit and did all he could to sabotage her efforts to quit. She admitted her responsibility for her cancer and did all she could to persuade others to stop smoking to save their own lives. So forgive me when I find it hard to understand people who keep smoking when they have cancer. They say they might as well enjoy life since they will die anyway. I can only feel pity for their lack of self esteem and their suicidal behaviour. There is nothing heroic about their lives. They are tragic!
  23. I'd like to give my two cents worth to this debate. I am a widow living in a retirement village in Florida. My best friend is a smoker and we have butted horns over the issue of smoking for years. I began by refusing to let her smoke in my home, then later told her she is not allowed to smoke whenever she's with me. Each time she protests very loudly, threatens to disobey my wishes but always gives in. I think she knows she is wrong. I say she's just blowing smoke when she says I'm unfair. She even threatened to boycott our favourite restaurant when it went totally smokefree. But we still go there together because in reality it doesn't cost her anything but better health. The only negative thing I can say about our restaurant going smokefree is that it's always full now! I think most older people appreciate a healthy environment for their autumn years!
  24. I really dislike people saying I'm allergic to smoke. I think it implies that it's unusual to not be able to tolerate smoke. As far as I know the nose and lungs were designed to breathe in clean air for sustaining life. They were also built with a warning system to let you know when you are being poisoned. By definition everyone should be allergic to smoke. Some people just disconnect their alarm systems in order to feed addictions!
  25. As I read through these stories I am angry, I am sad, sometimes a little bit ashamed, but the most surprising thing is how many of these stories are about my life!
  26. I live in Holland but was travelling in Indonesia when I was asked to come home because my father was dying of lung cancer in 1987. One of his friends from work came to visit him. Even though my father was connected to Oxygen and dying from lung cancer, this friend sat beside his bed, rolled a cigarette and lit it! I remember this as an example of how unconscious people who are addicted to nicotine can be!
  27. Because I have respiratory disease I have been forced to end relationships with smokers over the years. I have one friend who doesn't smoke but has many friends who do. I can tell she thinks my requirement to be smokefree is unfair to her friends who smoke. She reluctantly explains to them that they must not smoke around me, but most of them do anyway. I can feel the tension from her, there are always little comments that are put downs, accusations that I am too sensitive, statements that imply it's my perception of smoking that causes the problems! I am now forced to end my relationships with people who think defending tobacco addiction is more important than friendship, more important than the health of friends! Today my friend told me she thinks my obsession with smoke limits my possibilities in life. Today I realized she is not really my friend because she means it limits my possibility to be friends with smokers who abuse me!
  28. I've been travelling for many years alone and I'm quite proud of the fact I have been able to do it most of the time without getting sick from tobacco smoke pollution. Of course there are some countries I simply don't go because of excessive smoking habits. When I travelled with friends who also don't smoke I was ill with headaches, sinus infections and asthma attacks two days out of every three! Some friends simply refuse to leave places where there is smoking. There are times they convince me I am being "too sensitive!" These are the times I become ill. When I go off to travel alone again I am never ill when I can avoid the smoke! I hate smoking, I hate the arrogance of smokers and I hate the way people who are normally intelligent seem to suspend that intelligence when it comes to tobacco addiction.
  29. One day recently a friend indicated she wanted to have a serious talk with me. I met her for afternoon tea. She explained that she was concerned about my attitude toward smoking because she felt I was limiting my life by being too focused on what other people do. I have respiratory disease and have chosen not to expose myself to tobacco smoke because of the serious consequences. I am not surprised because this isn't the first time I've been confronted with this attitude, but I am angry with my friend I wonder if she would tell someone without legs they should stand up and walk, or a blind person they should see. She obviously isn't a good enough friend to have empathy with my situation. If it doesn't happen to her it doesn't exist. She has chosen to be with her friends who smoke in public. I have enough self respect to accept that and let go of that particular friendship!
  30. My life has totally changed since moving from a tobacco state (Georgia) to more enlightened Tucson, Arizona. Although I still have to watch out for bar/restaurants, there are hundreds of smokefree restaurants I can patronize, as well as all theaters, most sporting events, malls, stores, etc. I still have to plan where to go on vacation. Hint: California- yes, Nevada- NO! I still can't go to outdoor concerts, and have to be careful at outdoor fairs & other gatherings. I too always correct people who ask if I am allergic to smoke. "Allergies are reactions to harmless substances. Tobacco smoke is extremely toxic, and I consider it clever of my body to shut down my airways before much of it can enter my lungs." I refuse to end up with severe asthma from environmental tobacco smoke like my Mom. My few friends who smoke understand, and warn me before they light up, so I can leave. If they don't, they are not a friend. Stand up for yourself and for smokefree air- for all of us!
  31. I agree with the idea that the smokefree movement is a civil rights movement. Every time I am confronted with a public space where smoking is allowed it's like having a sign on the door that says smokers only! If I enter that space I become a smoker of secondhand smoke. If I breathe the smoke I become ill! In the world the way it exists today my right to participate fully in society is denied in the same way as segregation denied Blacks rights in the South. There was one advantage in the Black civil rights movement though. They couldn't change the color of their skin! They had to fight! As more of us who have never smoked are given the opportunity to experience smokefree public environments we find it more difficult to "change the color of our skin" to get by! No more pretending it doesn't bother us.
  32. In the fight against nicotine addiction there are two kinds of heroes who belong in the same category; those who quit smoking and those who have never smoked but speak up for their right to breathe clean air. Both require a great amount of courage!
  33. My husband and I often travel by car, staying in motels along the way. He, being very organized, would make reservations weeks in advance, always requesting non-smoking rooms. We were usually advised there was no guarantee we'd get a non-smoking room unless one was available when we checked in. He learned to insist on non-smoking rooms "for medical reasons" as we would frequently travel with our grandson who has asthma. Now we always request a non-smoking room "for medical reasons' in order to secure a non-smoking room. This is, however, no guarantee you'll get a room that hasn't been smoked in!
  34. Once I found an ashtray in a clearly marked nonsmoking room in a motel. I took it to the front desk and asked why ashtrays were provided if the room was nonsmoking. The manager on duty informed me that when they ran out of smoking rooms they would often give a nonsmoking room to a smoker! Needless to say -- we never stayed there again.
  35. My husband has a co-worker who is losing his sight. There is a surgery available that would improve his sight and perhaps stop the progression of the disease. He repeatedly canceled appointments to schedule the surgery . When I asked him why, he said they wanted him to stop smoking two weeks before the surgery and he didn't think he could stop. He is clearly an addict if he chooses smoking over sight.
  36. My grandson was diagnosed with asthma when he was two years old. He and his mother lived with her parents. I will never forget the first time we went to see him. He was sitting at the dining room table taking a breathing treatment on his nebulizer. There were four people sitting around him smoking, including his mother and grandparents. My heart was breaking to see him helpless in this situation. That picture will be with me for the rest of my life. He is safe now because he lives with his dad who doesn't smoke and doesn't allow anyone else to smoke around him.
  37. Twenty five years ago I married a smoker. It was accepted then that some people smoked and others didn't. I never smoked myself, but for the four years I was married to him I may as well have been a smoker. I've been married for twenty years now to someone who doesn't smoke. If I were single today I would never even consider going out with someone who smokes. I don't even allow smoking in my house, my car or my garage. I wouldn't sit in the smoking section of a restaurant, even for my best friend (if she smoked). I don't go to parties where smoking is allowed and I won't stand outside and talk to someone with a cigarette in their hand. I'm tired of being exposed to ETS! I'm writing to my state senator and to the governor of Missouri. I'm no longer going to just complain about ETS, I'm going to do something about it!
  38. Last year my best friend took me to Europe for my first trip abroad. I enjoyed many aspects of Europe except for the tobacco smoke. This year I decided to go again with more planning ahead to avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible. I have contacted many hotels to ask for smokefree rooms on smokefree floors. I assumed American owned hotels would provide this service. Many have told me there are smokefree rooms available, but avoid answering the question about smokefree floors and refuse to guarantee that the rooms have not been smoked in. When I send further enquiries the correspondence simply ceases! Last year I sat in a smokefree room that had smoke pumped in from other rooms through the air-conditioning system. Why are English travel guides not providing more information on smokefree travel? Why are Europeans so unconscious when it comes to tobacco abuse?
  39. Many of us know intelligent people who continue to smoke. Many of us have loved ones who have died from tobacco use. But that doesn't change the facts about smoking! Sucking smoke into one's lungs is just about the most stupid, self-destructive thing a person can do! The truth is, most people who smoke have harmed other people with their secondhand smoke. Whether it's conscious or unconscious, that secondhand smoke contributes to illness and sometimes even death in people who don't smoke. If the world is going to change we need to speak loudly and often about the negative aspects of tobacco use. Silence only contributes to the unnecessary illnesses and deaths. Instead of worrying about saving a relationship or not rocking the boat, we should think about saving lives!
  40. I have never smoked, but my parents smoked when I was a child. I just want people who read these stories to know that people like me exist. I am a prisoner in my own home in Greece. I can't go anywhere because the effects of secondhand smoke are devastating for me. I enjoy nature and fresh air outdoors, but I seldom go into enclosed places because smoking is allowed virtually everywhere. I am angry at smokers and the tobacco companies and my government, but I have no hope for a resolution. In my country people smoke in the banks, in the shops, even the drivers on busses smoke though it's forbidden!
  41. On Easter Sunday we took our 4 children to Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. There is a law in Arlington, Texas that forbids smoking in ticket lines, but smoking is allowed everywhere else in the park. As I stood waiting for my kids to finish rides I was surrounded by other parents who were smoking. At the end of the day I was sick from inhaling smoke, my son who has asthma was sick and my youngest daughter had swollen tonsils! As more and more indoor places become smokefree it becomes evident that this battle will not be over until smokers are forbidden to smoke anywhere they might harm others!
  42. I was invited to an outdoor concert at the Opera House in Sydney, Australia. The secondhand smoke was so bad I had to leave fifteen minutes into the concert. My friend kept arguing that I couldn't be sick because we were outdoors. The floodlights were situated in such a way that they illuminated the clouds of smoke rising from the spectators. Even this spectacle didn't convince my friend that my illness was real! I am always amazed at the power of denial!
  43. This is a story from March, 1988. Four of us had traveled to Los Angeles from San Francisco for the weekend. When we arrived at the airport for our return flight to SF they told us we would have to sit in the smoking section because there were no nonsmoking seats left. Well, California had already banned smoking on all flights within the state. The Pan Am flight attendants told us our flight didn't qualify because it originated in Florida. We differed and refused to agree to fly on a smoking flight. The pilot send word back that we would have to leave the plane. We refused! He then came on the intercom and t