Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Number 39 - "You Did WHAT?"

Because sticking one of these in your mouth is so cool.
If there is one thing guaranteed to get my blood boiling and cause the Red Mist to descend, it's smoking. I'm quite evangelical about it and I'm not ashamed to say so. I HATE smoking. I hate everything about it, from the smell to how people look whilst doing it. (Clue: you look absolutely ridiculous.)

I have NEVER smoked, not even a sneaky couple of puffs on a Silk Cut as a curious teenager.

Mother is a smoker. (Quit at Christmas. Started with an eCig. Quit the eCig. Started smoking again 2 months ago.)
Sister is a smoker. (Quit a year ago. On an eCig.)
Husband is a smoker. (Quit 3 months ago. On an eCig.)
Father was a smoker. Has been smoke-free for 7 years.

As you can see, I'm from a smoking family. For years and years my parents would happily chain-smoke John Player Specials in our living room, a room which needed to be decorated every year to get rid of the yellow nicotine-stained white paint. I am surprised my lungs were not shot to hell as a child.

When I met Husband, he was smoking roll-ups but was in the process of "stopping". Which he didn't, until very recently, but I was willing to accept it as I understand that smoking is an addiction and cannot just be "stopped" unless you really, REALLY want to.

And I do not see a distinction between real cigarettes and these ridiculous eCigs. You look just as stupid puffing on something that looks like a biro, and whilst the damage to passive smokers might be drastically less, I still can't see how these things are that much safer. And surely you are just replacing one addiction for another? If you actually WANTED to STOP completely? Well, you just would, wouldn't you?

But I always warned that if I ever found out that Daughter had even LOOKED closely at a cigarette I would kill her. (Not literally, but death by Social Media Withdrawal and Indefinite House Arrest may be a real thing in the eyes of a teenager.) And she always swore she wouldn't because she agreed it was vile and stupid. So, she did the next best thing. She stole my mother's eCig that Mum had left behind when she stayed here and puffed away at that until the battery went flat.


It is like having everything you've ever believed in whipped out from under you. My daughter, once this sweet, innocent little girl, had done something so reprehensible to me, so vile and stupid, I couldn't even look at her! I remember shaking with rage as she told me what she'd done and telling her quite coldly and calmly to get out of my sight. I couldn't speak to her for about 12 hours. She went to bed, got up for school the next morning without a word and by the time she got home, I'd had chance to process what she'd done. I'd researched the potential dangers of nicotine poisoning, possible addiction and everything else to do with these vile fake cigarettes and then I laid into her.

There was yelling.

She swears that she only had a few puffs as it was almost empty of the liquid that goes in the vial, and the battery was almost flat. There is no way to charge it here as it is not the same as Husband's and his is never out of his hand. (It's grasped permanently, like some sort of childhood comforter, and at night he lays it carefully on his bedside table.) And after a furious phone call to my Mother she is also adamant that it was almost completely flat and empty.

Daughter has shown no sign of poisoning and as yet, is not sweating, cold turkey, jonesing for another hit so there has been a slight bullet dodged there. She says she was just curious about it and what it tasted like and grudgingly I'll admit that it's marginally more preferable to try an eCig than the real thing. But this raises an issue of how these eCigs are seen by kids, and how they are marketed. For a while, there was an effective stigma against smokers. It was dangerous and smelly and disgusting. But these new things, with their slick, sexy ad campaigns are undoing all the work the anti-smoking campaigns did. Daughter was never curious about cigarettes. But with all the furore about how fantastic these fake ones are, well, she did the impossibly stupid and had a try. And I'm told that kids are buying them and starting up eSmoking; forgoing the Benson and Hedges and going straight to the technology.

And this disgusts me.

For the record, Daughter's privileges have all been stripped. She is on full House Arrest. Home > School > Home. That is all. Her Facebook has been deactivated, she is locked out of the internet for anything other than homework and that is supervised by me. She goes nowhere without an adult (usually me) present and she spends her evenings in the dining room studying or in the living room with me or Husband. The only time she is allowed in her bedroom is to get dressed/undressed and to sleep. Basically, she is being treated as a toddler who cannot be left alone until I feel she has learned a lesson.

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