Smoking at the Playground?!

Updated on August 02, 2011
A.H. asks from Plano, TX
35 answers

I just got back from taking my son one of the playgrounds/splash pads. I'm sitting on the bench getting my son dried off to leave and I smell cigarette smoke. There is a woman sitting on a bench on the opposite side of the playground smoking! I realize she is outside, but come on. The wind was blowing it all over the playground where kids are running around! We were already leaving, but I was tempted to ask her to stop. What would you guys have done?

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So What Happened?

Oh my goodness, I am not worried that exposure to one cigarette is going to harm my child for life. But I do not intentionally expose him to secondhand smoke and don't feel that someone else should, especially in a place designed for children. I think there is a problem if you have to light up after 10 minutes and don't have the courtesy to go to your car, or at least the parking lot. You could substitute this with having a conversation full of curse words. Is it her right? Yes. Is it appropriate for a child's playground? No. There are a lot of things that are legal, but certainly not appropriate and I don't accept that you can't ever say something about it. Simple courtesy goes a long way and it is sorely lacking in some people. I can understand not saying anything to her in this situation, but if it were 10 smokers, you bet I'd say something. Or if she were cussing where everyone could hear. You can't shelter your children from everything, but I think a playground should be an innocent place for children to play and have fun.

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R.H.

answers from Boston on

I'd probably let it go. She's outside, let her smoke. She's already been banned from smoking in every single indoor establishment, and even some outdoor areas.

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Public space is public space. There are no laws that prohibit smoking in public parks. I don't like being around smoke either. But she has the right to smoke anywhere she wants that is not a protected place.

2 moms found this helpful

N.A.

answers from Chicago on

Lol...You just reminded me about someone that likes to smoke at my kids school..A mother...we were at the school playground and she lit a cig and started smoking! I was like REALLY??? Some people just dont understand that there may be kid's playing at the park that may have asthma or some other kinds of health problem! As for my kid's, I just dont like or want anyone to smoke around my kid's..and besides isn't second hand smoke just as bad???

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C.O.

answers from Washington DC on

I would've left her alone...she's OUT IN AN OPEN AIR AREA!!!

Sweeet mother of God!! This is ridiculous....how much smoke are they really going to get? How much danger are they really going to be in?

Christopher Reeves wife, Dana, NEVER smoked a day in her life and got lung cancer...

PLEASE!!!

I'd like to add that cell phones are a bigger danger and threat than cigarette smoke...I'm sure I'm going to be in the minority here...but really ...enough.

15 moms found this helpful
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K.F.

answers from Salinas on

I do not smoke and really never have, a bit as a 20 something on nights out but that's it. I just don't understand the fear with someone smoking outside in public. Do I like the smell, no. Do I think it's dangerous to the person smoking and those who breath the 2nd hand smoke regularly, of course. But to extend that to someone smoking near a playground as if it's a dangerous, awful thing I just don't get it.
To those who disagree, do you know what you're feeding your kids, what's in their drinking water? The pesticides on their food? There are poisons and enviromental dangers everwhere in this country. If you buy almost any processed foods you are feeding your family petroleum products among a lot of other gross stuff. If you eat conventional meat your regularly eating hormones, antibiotics, dyes and chemicals. It isn't hard to verify this, it's not some hippy, crazy conspiracy theory. Sadly it's the truth. So before everyone freaks out about 15 minutes of open air, dispersed, cigarette smoke maybe they should think about the last time they fed thier kids Mcdonalds, a nice shiny apple or a big glass of hormone laden, antibiotic filled, pesticide laced milk. I say pick your battles and if it really is a health concern then you always have the option of leaving the park. This is still a free country after all, right?

Added- I guess I just can't let this one go. My main point is who decides this sort of stuff? If we all agree that it isn't going to really hurt anyone to breath cigarete smoke in an outside area then why does anyone get to decide what's OK and what isn't. Playground or not I get a little nervous when my fellow Americans decide what's OK for the rest of us based on their own opinions and morals. If it doesn't hurt anyone then live and let live. I don't like swearing or smoking but I think a lot of you think smoking is gross (as I do) so that is what you are basing your ideas on with this post. It seems it has less to do with health and more to do with wanting people to live like you do. Sorry but live and let live should be the American way.

7 moms found this helpful

J.W.

answers from St. Louis on

I don't like smoke and I don't smoke. Still they can't smoke anywhere anymore. Come on, let it be. Maybe not the best choice but with the wind blowing you smelled the smoke, it wasn't enough to do any harm.

Now if she is directly blowing in your face, okay, say something. Otherwise leave her alone.

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T.H.

answers from Kansas City on

I also would have left her alone. I'm not a smoker either but if you are one and you're outside with your kids, it sort of seems like prime opportunity. I do agree that smokers don't have many options anymore and although I don't feel overly sensitive to their case, I don't think you would have been right or kind to tell her to stop smoking in this instance.

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm in the MYB camp.
I'm also a smoker.
And I have had a cigarette at a playground. <<Gasp>>
But I do not smoke right near anyone, especially kids. I am a polite and considerate smoker. Even that's not good enough for some people.
You suggest she go to her car. Dragging her kids?
Seriously, I'm sorry, I think people need to get a grip.
The situation you're describing was outside. I really doubt the smoke from O. cigarette from across the playground was "blowing all over the playground"!
If it had bothered me that much, I would have moved to another area. And I have done just that when I see what I consider offensive behavior and actions, including snarky mom cliques yakking it up and not paying .02 to their kids when they're too concerned about everything else!

4 moms found this helpful

G.T.

answers from Redding on

I think the media freaks people out about smoking. If there was a breeze I'm sure the smoke wasnt dangerous. No more dangerous than breathing the continuous car exhaust fumes that we all smell. I wouldnt have said anything to the smoker. If it was offensive I would have moved.

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B.L.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I absolutely hate when people smoke in public...especially around my kids...a disgusting and unhealthy habit they shouldn't be exposed to! My 4 year old (who has asthma) shares my disdain for smoking, and she's also quite talkative and umm...loud. So usually in situations like that she loudly says something like "i guess we should go away from that gross smoke so I dont have an asthma attack, mom". As to date, not a person has kept smoking around her...nothing like a good, old-fashioned guilt trip by a child. Ha.

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T.C.

answers from Dallas on

I think it's inconsiderate to smoke in a children's play area. If people want to smoke, fine, but be somewhat thoughtful about the fact that there are other people - children - around and you are poisoning their air. You have every right to be upset.

As for saying anything about it, I probably wouldn't! I would probably distance myself. If that wasn't enough, I'd probably leave and be incredibly annoyed.

I went to a special camp for kids who develop bone marrow failure and different types of cancers. These kids (my daughter being one of them) have very fragile immune systems and are very sensitive to toxins and things like that. There were about 40 other families there with us, all with kids with the same disease. One of the moms was smoking out where everyone walks by!! If we went outside, we all smelled smoke. I could not believe it! I was so angry. And to think she exposed her daughter to this every day. I get that people want to choose to smoke. That's their choice, but especially in situations like this where it's so dangerous to their child, I have no understanding...and then to do that to everyone elses kids. Drove me crazy. I think a lot of people complained because the mom ended up being asked to smoke much further away from everyone where we smelled nothing.

Anyway, I see a playground to be a similar place that should be consider off limits. Smoking doesn't affect just the smoker. If it did, then I think they should have the right to smoke wherever they want. But smoking also affects everyone breathing that same air. It can't be ALL about the smoker. Other people have to be considered into the equation as well. The fact that smokers don't have many places to smoke anymore...a child's playground shouldn't be one of them.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

I hate when people do this, but I would never say anything to them, it is a free country and we are outside, but I agree it is totally classless!

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M.F.

answers from Portland on

Nothing... she is outside, you can not control a legal action done in a legal outdoor place.
If she was in your home or your backyard or your business...
but she wasn't so leave it alone.

I am not a smoker and I do not like the smell, but it is not illegal.

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S.M.

answers from Kansas City on

That happened to me today as well and I got a face full of smoke. I just despise it. We have had work done on our property the last week and a half. The guys stop every 20-30 minutes and chain smoke. I have to take out the trash, water the lawn, take out the dog, take the daycare kids outside, run errands, talk to them about the work they are doing, get the mail...etc.. My sinuses are a WRECK from all the smoke!

I don't say anything. But when I start to cough involuntarily I can see them looking at me like I must be faking it.

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G.S.

answers from New York on

I hear ya loud & clear on this one! While at the carnival the carnie was leaning over my daughter w/a cigarette in his mouth & the head of it almost dropped off into my daughter's hair. It makes u wonder if people have any consideration, but then it's obvious that they don't. As an x-smoker i always took it away from the children, so i don't even think smoker's rights apply to children's settings.

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K..

answers from Phoenix on

Unless someone is blowing the smoke in my kid's face, then it's not a battle I choose to get crazy about. The world is full of things you may not approve of, but you can't go around telling other adults what to do. There are tons of things out there that are socially acceptable, but equally as bad as smoking, but no one seems to make a big deal of those.

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

I was raised in a household with 3 adult chain smokers, and my lungs have always been inflamed and asthmatic as a result. If smokers come into my breathing space, I do my best to hold my breath until I can get out of range.

But sometimes it's not reasonable to leave, so I ask politely, "Do you know your smoke is drifting in my direction? It would sure help me if you'd be so kind as to move downwind until you're finished." They will often apologize and respond instantly – most smokers today do recognize that their habit can harm others. It seems you could make a similar request of the playground smokers. If you are polite, it doesn't hurt to ask. Better than "fuming" silently.

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L.M.

answers from Dover on

Outside or not, most children's areas have a no smoking policy. I would have either went to an employee or simply asked her "ma'am, your smoke is blowing in our direction, would you mind moving downwind?".

I think a person's right to smoke end where it infringes on someone else's right not to. It won't hurt a smoker to go without a cigaretter while it will hurt a non-smoker (or even other smokers) to breath the smoke from the smoker's cigarette! It certainly is not a smoker's right to force smoke on a bunch of kids...outside or not you are still breathing it in.

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C.A.

answers from New York on

I am a smoker and if there are kids any where around I will NOT smoke. I can wait. But if my daughter and I are the only ones there I will lite up. Or I will go as far away as I can as long as I can see my daughter. Some ppl are very rude when it comes to having their smoke. They don't seem to care. Some ppl feel that as long as they are outside that its ok. Some of our local parks have a ban on smoking. Yes there are other things that are in the air that you have to worry about but why add the extra? Yes I think that it is wrong when you are standing in line outside to rent a movie from one of those machines and someone is smoking. I have seen it happen and most of the ppl got out of line and waited till that person was done or left. I don't blame ppl for not wanting to be around it. Yes we have a right to smoke outside but it is just common curtisy (spelling?) not to do it around ppl that don't smoke. I don't blame you for being upset.

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F.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

LOL, I read your so what happened response first and was not surprised a responder thought you overreacted. LOL, they never get it, always extreme on the attack.

Now my input, when I am at the park and notice someone smoking I AM APPALLED. One cigarette, or two, they need to move away from the playground period. I don't want to smell it and children should not be subjected to second hand smoke.

The issue is when one parent does something irresponsible, you can always guarantee more will follow simply because we are not voicing our genuine concerns.

They should not smoke near the play area. PERIOD!!!!!!!!

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B..

answers from Dallas on

Cell phones a bigger danger then smoke...HA! That's hilarious, and totally false. Laughable.

Anyway, I don't say anything. They are outside, and (unfortunately) it is their right to be reckless and suck on a cancer stick. I cough almost uncontrollably around smoke. So my near hyperventilating would have probably made her move anyway.

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

She was sitting on a bench, apparently some distance away from where the kids were playing. She wasn't blowing it in their faces as they came down the slide. Leave her be.

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J.K.

answers from Phoenix on

I'd be annoyed but I wouldn't say anything (besides coughing and gagging because I can't breathe.)

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E.L.

answers from Detroit on

I see both sides of this situation. I don't really think smoking outside is going to necessarily harm others, BUT -- it is insanely rude. I wouldn't have said anything though, she's just making herself look bad.

I think some smokers believe it is their right to smoke where they want, but I don't think it's right that people subject others to any unpleasant smells. I don't even wear perfume or strong smelling lotions when I know I'm going to be close to people, like in a classroom or something. A lot of people have allergies and asthma, and it's just plain mean to be bothersome to them, even if it is your "right." Whatever happened to common courtesy and consideration to others? Some people are so focused on whether it's "legal" or their "right" instead of caring about being respectful.

I think it also depends on where you live. It seems like there's some areas where it's more accepted than others. I would be very surprised to see someone smoking at a playground in the area where I live, but in some areas it's just what they do. I remember visiting my mom a couple years ago, and we were at the playground with my kids. While I was talking to another mom, she just lit her cigarette right in the middle of the playground. She wasn't even on a bench, she was right in the middle of the kids running around. I didn't say anything though, because for 1 - I'm a total chicken! And for 2 - It probably would have just made her mad. People who do it know that some others don't like it, they just choose to do it anyway.

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S.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm a non-smoker; however, unless there is a law about smoking in a park/playground, you cannot do anything about it. You can't control the environment, but you certainly can take it as an opportunity to teach your kids to move away from it as it can cause harm.

If I were a smoker and someone came up to me with their judgements and opinions about "second hand smoke" and how it kills....I would tell them "too bad it's not instantly."

It's not worth it! Instead, focus on what you can change...and that's you walking away and teaching your kid about unhealthy cigerettes (make it about the cigerette and not the person.)

S.

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M.L.

answers from Houston on

I would have ignored her. She was on the opposite side and she was in a public place. Unless smoking was prohibited at that specific location, there is nothing you can do.

I read a funny quote that went along the lines of... "ridiculing smokers is in trend. But we don't go and wrestle a fatty steak out of an obese person's hand, or {unhealthy} chicken nuggets from a kid."

Yes, smoking bothers me, I am greatness that we have smoking bans in most indoor areas around here and I think that smoking in cars with children should be illegal. But outside, in a public place, smokers have their freedoms too.

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J.B.

answers from New York on

It is illegal to smoke in public places in NJ whether it be indoors or outdoors. so I never have encountered that problem

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A.P.

answers from Florence on

If you wanted her to stop, you should have asked her politely. Sometimes we assume (myself included) that because a person smokes they are of low moral character and asking them to go somewhere else would only be instigate an aggressive reaction from them. I'm not a smoker, but I know plenty of people who do smoke, and I gotta tell ya... they're still pretty nice people. Sure some smokers are rude, but just because someone smokes doesn't mean that they wouldn't be willing to put out their cigarette or go elsewhere. All you have to do is ask. If they do get upset.... WHO THE HECK CARES?? You will most likely never see this person again ever.

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R.K.

answers from Boston on

I have a big issue with this because asthma is on the rise and one of my older son's biggest triggers is smoke. So yes I am that mom. I usually go over and politely ask them if they would mind putting it out most don't have a problem. My town has no smoking at the park and town beach though so it's usually not an issue.

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T.L.

answers from Detroit on

You should have got some water from the splash pad and dumped it on her and that freekin cigarette! Idiot smoker has no class:(

1 mom found this helpful

A.G.

answers from Houston on

id rather not smell it either but its her right.....at least for now.

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A.C.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I don't know about where you live but here in Norman it is ILLEGAL to smoke in the parks and there are signs posted. So I would have said something.

1 mom found this helpful

C.P.

answers from Sacramento on

Move away from her and then explain that the wind was blowing the smoke into the path of the children

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L.O.

answers from Fayetteville on

Unfortionatly I'm guilty of doing the same thing when I was in my 20's. I didn't/don't think second hand smoke applies to outside, except if your in close proximity to someone else and there are barriers blocking the smoke from escaping the area. Before I go on I want to say that I'm in my 30's and find my behavior appalling, and looking back I'm ashamed of myself. A quick shout out to ALL the parents and children I offended, I'm so very sorry I smoked in front of your children and I'm equally sorry to the children who smelled my smoke and perhaps frightened them with my actions of sucking and blowing smoke around.

My other point reflects on children's impressionability to react and emulate others. The fact that a 10 year old saw me smoke and wanted to try it breaks my heart. I behaved irresponsible and was more a child then the children I smoked in front of. Forever I will have a bad taste in my mouth because I wasn't watching out for the little ones, and I compromised their future health. It's an adults responsibility to keep children safe and to teach them about life. I failed in those moments and I am truly sorry.

So to everyone I would like to apologize and one day I hope to do something positive and wonderful for children or a child that is over and beyond the normal adults responsibilities to children. Perhaps I will speak at a school assembly regarding the dangers of smoking or raise money for children with cancer or even sponsor a couple of malnourished children from America or another country. I said America because I'm aware we have a huge problem getting all our children fed properly on this soil.

Wow, I just thought of something! Please anyone tell me if this exists somewhere or where I could find mire information about the following idea.

What if I started a nonprofit organization to get ALL the children who are suffering from hunger in America some form of nutrition on a daily basis.

Huge task but this would be amazing. Something like this has to already exist here, I can't imagine with all the charities we have that we overlooked malnourished American children.
Anyways I am so invigorated right now, first I never said such things on a public blog or outwardly admitted to smoking on playgrounds while children were near and it still makes me cringe as I type this and deal with all the negative feelings I have about this. But I'm excited this moment for being able to address this issue and apologize, even though those who I offended will never see this but maybe some of you who have been affected by other people doing the same as I did can feel a little better for this one admission and apology. Also through this process I came to a few really good actions I can do to make someone happy. I don't think I would have thought of our own children in America needing food and the possibility that I can do big things to make big changes and get out children fed.
Thank you for reading and I would appreciate any ideas or comments good or bad regarding my bad behavior and the ways I feel I can make up for it. If anyone has any additional ideas, actions and or words I can ponder on please please please leave a note.
I think you could just comment below me.
Thank you

A.L.

answers from Dothan on

I am a 'born again' non smoker so I abhor cigarettes (dh now has emphysema & copd due to his continued sneakin' smokin') howsomever, if there is not a posted 'no smoking' sign @ the playground the woman has every right to smoke. Call your city council and see if you can get them to pass an ordinance that allows all the parks in the area to become, 'no smoking' areas, this might take some time & some other moms helping & some other dads as well as concerned citizens but it will be well worth the time & effort.

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