Arthro-Pilates and Lupus





Smokers…Modern Day Lepers

Huddled groups of disgruntled citizens, shivering in the cold, at every street corner, and outside every office building are dreading the oncoming of winter. These groups of people now considered the modern day Lepers shunned by society, have been forced to find solace in the outdoors and are now relegated to getting their “fix” in the back alleys of Toronto.

While I am not talking about heroin addicts, I am indeed speaking about a group of individuals who are looked upon with pretty much the same distain. They are the “smokers”! There they stand “out in the cold” inhaling their tiny sticks of quiet desperation amongst their peers and hoping that one day they will break the habit.

We all know the facts. Smoking is a harmful addiction that can cause a multitude of health problems not only for the person who purchased that pack of expensive nicotine filled papers but for all the innocent bystanders exposed to their second hand smoke. And while I believe that quitting is an absolute necessity, I must admit that I have a huge amount of empathy and understanding of the smoker’s plight. After all, 15 years ago I was a smoker and I can relate to your desperation and to your dilemma.  There was nothing I enjoyed more than a night out with the girls, vodka rocks in one hand and a “ciggy” in the other. Smoky filled bars and sleezy conversation were the order of the day and my addiction was in full force. Morning coffee wasn’t complete and not nearly as fulfilling without my cigarette in tow. There were those frantic moments when a pack was misplaced and I was forced to search my handbag in the hopes that a lost friend would be lingering at the bottom. Glamour factor aside, it didn’t seem to matter that the one I had found was three years old and tasted like something off the bottom of my shoe, I needed to feed my addiction.

I knew I had a serious problem when one evening, too tired to make the three minute trip to my local cigar store I was forced to call “Pizza Pizza” and ordered two cans of Pepsi and a pack of DuMaurier Light. My profuse apology to the customer service rep taking my order was only met with understanding. In her words “You need a cigarette bad, eh?” Luckily for me she was a member of the “smoking club”. Eventually I did quit. I went cold turkey. One week of sweats, profuse shaking and ten pounds heavier I was released forever. I have never taken a puff since.

I no longer sport yellow tipped fingers, smelly clothing, and my skin and hair are back to normal but most importantly my lungs are in good shape. Even though I was subjecting myself to ill health on a daily basis the fact remained I was addicted and I also enjoyed it. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a smoker today when you can no longer smoke in offices, restaurants, bars or public places and are basically treated like an outcast. Some politicians want to ban smoking even in our own vehicles.

Smokers everywhere…I understand your plight and I understand your pain. I will wave to you the next time I drive by your huddled groups. I can only hope that you will be able to see me through your smoke induced haze.


©Lori Weisbrod


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