It’s All Smoke and Urine

nosmoking.jpgWhile waiting for the light to change at the corner of 14th and 3rd this morning, a girl blew cigarette smoke in my face while I was taking a swig of juice. The taste of the hundreds of chemicals masked the taste of my juice. It was disgusting. I nearly choked. And I nearly choked her.

I’m going to make a bold statement here. It’s not one that my cancer-stick-loving friends will take lightly. Nor is it one that my freedom-loving friends will take lightly. 

If urinating in public is illegal, smoking in public should be illegal.

Urinating in public is illegal because it is perceived to be detrimental to society. It is unsightly. But it is not unhealthy. Urine is sterile once it leaves the human body. It does not contain bacteria. Hell, you can use fresh urine to clean wounds (remember that next time you drunkenly trip on the sidewalk). The smell that lingers from the urine stain on the sidewalk is enough to make someone gag, but it’s not unhealthy. Urine doesn’t pollute our air and groundwater. And let’s face it: when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Smoking in public is undoubtedly detrimental to society. It is not necessarily unsightly. After all, a smoking, brooding hipster is infinitely cooler-looking than a non-smoking, brooding hipster. But it can kill you and the people around you. Each breath of secondhand smoke takes time off your life. It smells bad, and it’s unhealthy. Cigarette smoke and cigarette butts pollute our air and water. And no matter what kind of addictive grasp nicotine has on your body, smoking will never be a bodily function.

So, if smokers are going to keep bitching that their rights are being taken away, why haven’t serial public urinators ever staged an uprising? Just sayin’.



Filed under As Seen On Gawker, Life in NYC, Politics

127 responses to “It’s All Smoke and Urine

  1. John Paul

    Nice one. I’m forever tempted to “pick a fight” with “hipsters” that think nothing of flicking their butts on the public sidewalk or out of an automobile while still burning! And if your post should have the opposite effect you seek at least we won’t be forever in search of a McDonald’s to use as a public toilet.

  2. its illegal to smoke in public places in Ireland, where i’m from. no smoke in bars, restaurants, offices etc. its great ! but it also leads to hoardes of smokers congregating around a butt-bucket (irish slang for a communal ashtray !) outside pubs and bars etc. and also they stink when they come back in so much so that you might as well have them smoke in the bar anyways ! outlaw it all ….

  3. It’s societal rants like these that have pressured me to quit. I start the Zyban today.

    (And friends like you get to deal with the mood swings, aren’t you lucky!)

  4. Right on with this. The worst is when it’s hot outside. Nothing quite like strolling somewhere on a hot summer day with some douchebag puffing away directly in front of you. I usually walk to get in front of them and then make sure to spit on the ground directly in front of their feet. “Did he do that on purpose?” Perhaps he did, perhaps he did.

  5. Marjorie

    This is great! I completely agree it’s so annoying walking behind a smoker. Even worse is when they don’t even watch where their butt hand is going and end up buring your jacket.

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more. Last week I was walking home from work (keep in mind I live like a block and a half from the subway station), and when I walked in the door my boyfriend is like: YOU SMELL LIKE SMOKE!
    On the way home I was walking being this one lady that was puffing her lungs out…finally I was able to pass her but then got behind some other @$$hole that was smoking like crazy. But I couldn’t get around him…yuck.

  7. us smokers are doing you a favor. who wants to live to be old anyway? old people are gross and give me a queasy feeling. by blowing smoke in your face i am taking years off your life. YOUR WELCOME.

  8. I could not agree more. Though, my dad was a smoker so I am already doomed to die from the second hand smoke I inhaled for the first 18 years of my life.

  9. i think it’s even more vile when people smoke at the beach. disgusting.

  10. Travis

    This is coming from a smoker, GO FUCK YOURSELF. Do you really think second hand smoke is the thing that is taking years off your life? Are you sure the problem is not that you a fat fuck? Just wondering????

  11. mira

    That stink of piss you smell in the street is from bacteria. That’s not sterile and is completely unhealthy.

  12. Hey Mira, newsflash: there’s no bacteria in urine.

  13. I think Travis needs a cigarette break.

    Nice one, Chris. While I agree with you (minus the peeing in public, I’m not going to join in anytime soon), I’m afraid someone’s going to dump an ashtray on your lunch. You’d best be careful.

  14. I am a smoker and I am sure that you would rather deal with my smoking than my tapping feet and bizarre rants which occur when I am not smoking. Smoking is cheaper than therapy and Paxil and it is less dangerous than sleeping around.

  15. THANK YOU. What annoys me is that when someone blows smoke in my face and becomes enraged when I wave it away. If they are allowed to pollute my air without my permission, I reserve the right to get rid of it however possible.

    Sometimes if you can’t get out of being near it, just tell the smoker (very nicely, of course) you have a serious medical condition that, if aggravated by cigarette smoke, can prove fatal – or something. My neighbor used to smoke so much that MY apartment started to smell, so I told her I had to go to the emergency room one night. No more smoke. =)

  16. AJ

    Urinating in public isn’t illegal because people are getting sick from it, it’s illegal because it’s indecent. And unless someone *is* blowing smoke directly into your face (which, naturally, most of us smokers go out our way not to do- and one or two won’t kill you, I promise) secondhand smoke released into the free atmosphere is not going to harm you.

  17. rob


    you’ve got to man the fuck up and stop being such a pussy. awww some little girl blew smoke in your face? Thats a fucking first world problem!

  18. charmer

    I’ll quit smoking in public if I can piss on your face whenever I get the urge.

  19. aw, and i thought you were kinda cute until you started dissing smokers.

    just kidding; i’m a smoker and i hate it when people blow smoke in my face. i have to say i prefer it to urine, though.

  20. mira




  21. I’m a very considerate smoker, and go out of my way not to offend with my habit. If I inadvertantly am impolite about it I will absolutely apologize. Spit on my shoes or get in my face about it though, all bets are off.

  22. hellgate

    travis needs to be smacked in his cancer ridden smoke stained mouth . All other smokers need a good dose of therapy. I’m pretty sure you can find cheap counseling in our soon to be ” Smoke Free NYC !”

  23. um...

    I am a smoker. I can agree it is probably not a nice experience to have smoke blown in your direction while drinking juice. However, in Canada, 56% of the price of a pack of cigarettes is government taxes. The average tax on a pack of cigarettes in New York $1.50 (New York State tax) and another $1.50 (New York City tax). These tobacco taxes generate a half a billion dollars annually. I do not believe it is fair to take away our right to smoke in publicly owned places while the public benefits from our annual half a million dollar tax contribution. I believe if smoking in public should be illegal, smoking altogether should be illegal.

  24. Darkwaters

    Let’s face it, most of the people walking the earth today really need to have time taken off the lives. That goes triple for New Yorkers, obnoxious lot that we are. And I say this as someone who gave up the habit two weeks ago after 30 years. Sure, you may not like sm0king, but it’s been around a lot longer than you, and it’ll outlive even you by a longshot. Meanwhile, you’re just whinging.

    Stop it.

  25. Mira, I wouldn’t wipe my face in urine on a sidewalk, just as I wouldn’t lick a cigarette butt that fell on the sidewalk.

  26. you live in one of the most polluted cities in the country; a little cig smoke is nothing compared to the exhaust from the millions of cars entering the city every day. maybe you should get a surgical mask to walk around with like they do in china.

  27. Jesse

    yes, just what the city needs, more rules. i’m so glad i can’t walk down the street with a beer in my hand either. it’s so much more fun here than, say, any city in europe. smokers don’t make the city bad, whiny people do.

  28. Karen ;-)

    mira – wiki wiki wiki it

    “…Urine is sterile the second it is expelled from a human. Therefore fresh urine can be used to clean wounds in emergencies, when no alternatives are available.” Know what else can be used? Booze! We’re talkin’ 151. Next thing you know, folks will be drinking their piss ’cause they think it’ll get you tipsy, oh the transitive logic…

    …as for the bacteria argument, well, it doesn’t really hold unless you think of pee like a piss puddle; fresh rain water (or urine) sits and sits and sits and bam, mosquito infestation and/or creepy crazy nasty growing shit. Is that likely? Eh…more likely would be that the smell is the stuff left after the water evaporates. Guess this makes me resident piss expert. Add that to the resume…

  29. JoJo

    AJ, you beat me to it and I wouldn’t have said it as nicely. Pissing in public is illegal because of the “exposure” the pisser must have in order to successfully piss on the street. Otherwise, he would just be peeing in his pants, as many a drunk bum or coed has done on the subway. And that isn’t really illegal, just gross.

    Bloggers tend to think they are the authority and have all the facts. Chris proves how ignorant they all are.

    Oh, and Mira is right.

  30. I would rather have smoke blown in my face than have to see homeless wang or va-jay.

  31. Yes, Jojo, all bloggers are ignorant.

    Because only the civilized, educated blog commenters would make blanket statements like that.

  32. selfrighteous

    “each breath of secondhand smoke” does NOT take time off your life. you’re simply wrong on that count. it’s incredible that people believe that garbage. Yes, living in a house with someone chain-smoking all day for 18 of your formitive years DOES have an effect. That much is obvious. It is also on an entirely different scale than the occasional whiff of ciggy smoke on the sidewalk. If your lungs and nasal cavities can’t filter that out, do less coke and more yoga.

    kudos to the person who brought up car exhaust. not to mention industrial pollution of the highest order. The Bush Administration is taking more years off my life than a carton of cigarettes every could.

    the myopia of people who would ban behavior for their comfort is astounding. i’m coming for your cell phone in public next year. and starbucks and its sawdust-tainted coffee in a few years.

    Get Over Your Ignorant Self.

  33. Blogs are opinion. They are one person’s opinion (and in this case, it’s an opinion I agree with). You nutjobs who are dumping on Chris should probably just stick with the Barbaro message board and leave the rest of the Internet to us grown-ups.

  34. Secondhand smoke in small amounts isn’t dangerous? Selfrighteous, you must also believe that global warming is a myth, and that the world was created in seven days. You know who makes that same argument? Tobacco companies.

    Every time a person breathes in secondhand smoke, he or she consumes over 100 carcinogens and toxins. 69 of them are cancer-causing chemical agents.

    That’s pure science. You can’t possibly tell me that it’s perfectly healthy to breathe that in five or six times a day, whether it’s on the exhaust-filled streets of New York or in a cornfield in Iowa.

  35. lisa rosenthal

    i hereby declare drinking your juice in public illegal.

  36. lisa rosenthal

    other things that bother me on the street and should be illegal:
    people who carry big umbrellas.
    people who use the word “hipster.”
    people who walk real slow.
    old people.
    NYU students.
    sparklefatties milling around outside the sportsbar acting like total sluts.
    people drinking juice.

  37. Alan Cabal

    “Pure science”? BWAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

    It’s pure bullshit, is what it is. Cigarette smoking has been banned in offices, etcetera, in the San Francisco Bay Area for 22 years. Not only has there been no decline in respiratory illnesses, but the incidence of respiratory ailments is going up! It’s the diesel exhaust, dummy.

    And your “right” to use a cell phone doesn’t bother me at all, just don’t subject me to the increase in background microwave radiation necessary to give you a good signal. If I see you yakking on that thing while driving near me, I might shoot you.

  38. 1.) NYC should follow Amsterdam’s example and install pissoirs in high-traffic nightlife areas — Meatpacking, Ludlow St., maybe lower Avenue B. That way people can smoke and urinate at the same time, and the whole issue is solved.
    2.) Yes, smoking is definitely unhealthy and any exposure is bad. But it’s also true that most people vastly overestimate how unhealthy limited exposure is. Chalk this up to nuisance or etiquette. What you got exposed to was probably less hazardous than peanut butter (peanut products have a carcinogenic mold called aflotoxin).

  39. Newms

    Looks like people really care about this topic! Wow, Chris just got his ‘most comments ever’ post. It may be played-out, but live and let live. Embrace the imperfection in society and do constructive things to help causes you care about. Stress and second-hand stress are also killers, so let go of your hangups, and start loving each other.
    Signed, Holier-Than-Thou (quit smoking over a year ago, although I’ll enjoy one on a special occassion)

  40. The tax taken from cigarette sales pays for your long and painful hospital stay before your subsequent death from said smoking – or those that suffer from second-hand smoke. Call it a kind of insurance you dont get when either a regular life/heath insurance policy wont cover you or will charge an exorbitant price because you are a smoker.

    All around smokers lose. So just quit. It’s got to better than foul breath, furniture, hair and clothes.

    Do I sound like an anti-smoker? I grew up with chain-smoking parents who refused to put them out for us kids – all non-smokers. But we have been barraged with chest and throat problems all our lives and weakened immune systems.
    But .. I still love my parents. (God rest my mothers sweet soul)

  41. Yo

    You know, Hitler and the Nazi party started an anti-smoking-for-public-health campaign. More citizens started smoking. But then, he took care of that really quickly, didn’t he?

    WE LIVE IN AMERICA. America was built by Tobacco. You keep your right to complain and I’ll keep my right to enjoy a mighty fine, legal drug.

  42. Hopeless Drudge

    I’m not a big fan of cigarette smoking, but its strange to rant about smoking in public during a decade where half the pedestrians think their cellphone conversation, or the music they are listening to, is more important than looking where they are going and not disrupting the flow of traffic.

    And I’m pretty sure that urinating outdoors isn’t illegal. Its not even that obnoxious if done very discretely.

  43. Hopeless Drudge: don’t worry, I’ll get to that other societal ill (distracted pedestrians) tomorrow.

  44. Weezie Jefferson

    I am glad I am not the only one who gets irritated at people barking about smokers. I am not even a smoker and the shit irritates me.

  45. I hate pulling up to a stop light around cars that are stopped. No matter what…atleast 66% of the cars I am near, there are people smoking. I do not know what is worse…..smelling the stinch or seeing my kids holding there noses.

  46. I completely agree with you Chris, cigarettes reak.

    And about the urine, the stench given off is the chemical “urea”, not bacteria as claimed by some uneducated bums above. Urine is sterile (ie no bacteria) when it leaves the body (unless you have a urinary tract infection or bladder infection), but bacteria get involved after it hits the pavement, utilizing the urea and other small chemicals.

    If smokers are legally allowed to blow smoke in our face, we should legally be allowed to piss in theirs…

  47. bee

    “Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray.”


  48. I kissed an ashtray once…it was just like licking a smoker.

  49. I’m on board with the program. Except I’d make public pot smoking legal. I like that smell.

  50. Bmo

    Wow, Thats a great thought man. I personally detest the thought of smoking and think you’ve brought a great issue to light.

  51. I am all for people smoking. Call it culling of the herd, a solution for exponential population growth. The healthcare industry will make beacoup billions treating all the people who have chronic lung problems. It’s good for the economy.

    Ha ha ha ha.

    Seriously, though, smoking is a nasty habit.

    I was jogging on a sidewalk in California one day and I inhaled a big breath of cigar smoke through my nostrils as I was passing a bunch of fat chatting men. The smell actually made me vomit, instantaneously, all over the sidewalk.

    But if I were given a choice between smelling a waft of cigarrette smoke and a whiff from a 3-day-old puddle of bum piss, I would pick the smoke as I have had the utter joy of spending an entire day exposed to an alternation of the two (I actually pulled my t-shirt over my nose for a couple of hours as the smell of my BO mingled with my coffee breath had a more pleasant bouquet.)

  52. I dated one girl who smoked. She was ridiculously hot. I mean, way, way, way off the charts, stupidly hot.

    Within 6 months, we were done. Her clothes smelled like smoke, her hair smelled like smoke, her breath reeked of smoke, and she tasted like smoke.

    Smoking just straight-up imposes on other people. No matter how considerate the smoker may be, he’s not as considerate as not smoking around me.

    I find smoking to be a disgusting habit, and I get where you’re going with the public urination thing. But really, it’s sad that smoking has so many double-standards associated with its public persona: it’s OK to smoke cigarettes in a bar here in Michigan, but not cigars.

    Makes no sense whatsoever.

    Good post.

  53. I am an exsmoker who hates the habit with a passion and gags when I smell someone who was just smoking, let alone someone who blew smoke in my face. I hate being in the elevator with someone who is coming up from a smoke break…yeech.

    *But* I would rather the subways smell like smoke in the summer instead of urine. Sometime around midAugust I give up on riding the subways because I cannot stand the stench and don’t ride again until November.

  54. Sam

    I became a non-smoker 17 days ago, and I agree with you.

  55. Smoke this , choke that …
    It wasn’t the smoking that was offensive. It was the rude person that violated your space. I know lotsa folks that smoke and maintain reasonably fresh breath somehow and are NOT offensive. If we were gonna ban every little thing all the way to capital hill because of a very minute percentage of rude idiots … well – kiss your freedoms good bye.

  56. Just the other day I was riding my scooter when the driver in the car ahead of me decided to flick his cigarette butt out of the window. He knew I was behind him and he looked at me as the butt hit me. This butt lodged between my coat and my bike and damaged both my a $400 coat and my scooter. Had I thrown a stone at his windscreen I imagine he would have been annoyed about it and perhaps even have called the police. Similarly if I had set light to his car seat he would probably not thank me.

    There are simple saliva tests available that detect nicotine. There is a company in Japan who do not hire people who smoke or offer them health insurance if they are existing employees if they have been smokers. All employees must sign a contract to say that if they test positive then they accept they will be fired. If ex-smokers have time off due to a smoking related illness they must pay the company compensation. Extreme but it seems to be a model other employers will follow.

    Regarding urinating in public I think common sense will prevail. In ancient Rome and throughout the Roman civilised world urine was regarded as a valuable resource by tanners and others and large vats were place on street corners inviting contributions from passers by.

  57. First of all:
    “Urine is normally sterile, which means that it contains no bacteria. A small number of bacteria may be found in the urine of many healthy people. This is usually considered to be harmless. However, a certain level of bacteria can mean that the bladder, urethra, or kidneys are infected. ” University of Michigan Health System Site

    I agree that smoking should be illegal, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening any time in the near future. The tobacco industry contributes too much money to politicians for anything drastic to happen. There are no medical uses for tobacco that I am aware of, which means that our government is allowing a substance that can only harms us to continue to benefit our economy. Meanwhile marijuana has many medical uses all of which are unrecognized by the U.S. Government so is must remain a Schedule I drug. I find this system highly irregular, if not fucked up.

  58. Urine (urea) is sterile UNTIL it leaves the body. Once it hits the sidewalk, the bacteria love the pee.

    I am a very light smoker, but when I do smoke in public, I make sure to keep it away from others as best I can. If I am in a place where the smoke will waft straight into the faces of non-smokers, then I won’t light up. I’m not a fiend, so I can wait until it’s appropriate.

    I don’t buy the “secondhand smoke in public takes years off your life” argument, though. If you live in NYC, then I would be worrying more about vehicle exhaust than secondhand smoke at a bus stop.

  59. Big Tiger

    Waaa the smoke is in my eyes and it makes my juice taste bad waaa. Go cry somewhere else, if you dont like cigarette smoke why dont you move out of the city and take all the other complainers with you.

  60. Kev

    this dude is just trying to get some attention, ignore him, this is just somer good old fashioned jokester!
    Ha HA good joke

  61. try having an original idea sometime. jesus. why do so many bloggers think they’re every last thought should be shared? i want the 4 mins reading this blog took off my life. oh, and hand me a cigarette. this shit makes me want to start smoking.

  62. If second hand smoke doesn’t kill ya, something else will. Maybe the terrorists, or the FDA, or the dairy farmers with the BHT hormones in the milk, approved by the FDA. Quit whining. You’re going to die anyway.

  63. True, if not for anything else, atleast be considerate about people around you who do not smoke! According to reports, passive smokers are prone to double the risks of getting lung cancer as the intake of atmospheric smoke is higher.
    Well written.

  64. eeerrrrr…. move away and hold your nose…. really when you think about how we used to live, we live more healthily than ever because we can make personal and informed choices as to how and what we ingest in this toxic world – even if the sky is about to fall tomorrow and the tide is on the rise. THAT turn around is a communal decision to save te planet.
    But one of things you can do if you hate smoke is to move a way and if you hate the smell of piss, hold your nose when you walk by. But don’t judge, man, its boring. Imagine living in Elizabethan England. Sheesh what a stank!

  65. It’s funny how some smokers (luckily not all of them) that commented your post react as if you had just told them that you had an affair with their wives…

    Hey, he’s not talking about banning smoking forever end everywhere (although that would be the best solution I could think of). He’s just talking about banning it in public!

    I don’t care what you do at home. Get drunk every night, smoke whatever you like, throw darts on your president’s photograph – whatever. It’s just a different thing in public.

    And yes, I can see that there is a similarity between cell phone calls and smoking in that field. So I try to avoid phonecalls in public or at least keep them as short as possible. What I don’t really see is how sipping juice could possibly have an effect on other folks. If you honestly think that, you might have a more serious drug problem than just smoking… ;-)

  66. Pingback: Bravo, Clistax! » Blog Archive » Rauchen vs. wildes Pinkeln

  67. We had a news article on tv the other week about a couple who were sitting in the privacy of their own home together watching telly and smoking their guts’ out. Next minute they hear the fire brigade pull up, sirens and lights blaring and the knock on the door. Turns out, the neighbours had seen smoke pouring out of their living room windows and seriously thought there was a fire! Now they are really peeved because they had the hard word put on them and now they feel they can’t smoke anywhere. :-D awwwwwwww!

    But I tell you … there is only one other thing that gets me down is people hoiking left right and centre on the pavement that we all walk on, or in sports fields. TB can live in spit on the ground for 40 years.

  68. Been There

    I grew up when smoking was “in” (50-60s). Both parents smoked heavily. I never smoked at all. I watched my father go from a strong muscular man to a 70 lb weakling due to the ravages of lung cancer. He was a pack a day Camel smoker. At his funeral, friends stood on the porch and talked about how bad it was while they puffed away. My mother who was also a heavy smoker quit the day my father was diagnosed. Cold Turkey. She still has the pack she opened that day and it has been 17 years. So if you are one of the lucky ones and the big C does not take you, you will not escape the other effects, age lines early, for guys, even Viagra may not help. Like the friends on the porch it is always someone else….until it is you. So if you smoke, take a photo of yourself today and every year take another and compare. You will be surprised at how fast you age when you smoke. It is simple physics and physiology. Good luck if you do.

  69. cardinalrowe

    Oh-I couldnt agree with you more. But how about working in a medical building where the employees smoke right at the door? You have to walk by them, and then all the smoke comes into the building. They also throw their butts on the ground even when there is a receptical for them-but too far for them to walk to. I also hate it when I have the misfortune of walking behind a smoker-that isnt right- I have to breathe in that toxic nasty smoke? not right- Smoking in public should be banned 100% entirely!
    Thanks for your post

  70. cardinalrowe, I feel for you. That’s half my problem: whenever I have to step outside my office building, I’m walking through a cloud of cigarette smoke. And then when I come back in to take the elevator, I’m the one who smells like smoke. It’s disgusting and inconsiderate.

    Then again, I work in a field known for its brooding, smoking, artsy types. In the medical field, that’s just inexcusable.

  71. In the EU(Europian Union) it’s clearly stated,that smoking in public is illegal and most of the public places,like restaurants,trains,streets etc.
    I agree with you,although I’m a smoker too,but it happened to me quite a lot of times,when somebody blew its smoke into my face,which is more unhealthier,then additionally smoking.

    Cheers,mate. :)

  72. Actually, peeing is the main way we excrete toxins, chemicals, drugs (ah, those tests), and often bacteria (if there’s an infection) from the body. And that lovely smell we all know (especially in certain subway tunnels whose stale air carries it so well) is from the urea-produced ammonia. BUT it IS fairly sterile, so the author’s point is taken. And I’m all for banning smoking everywhere. Even when people smoke outside, the smell finds its way in and smokers never seem to grasp the irony of smoking in a beautiful park or garden, etc.

  73. BPP

    I once was enjoyin’ a fine cigar in a hotel bar when this bloody puritan comes up and demands I stub it out because, and I quote, “You’re killing my family.” I looked over at his two stinking brats and told the fucker the two ugly little shits looked like they deserved to die to save ’em the shame of spending their entire lives being ugly little bastards with a whining twat for a father. He started getting all shirty-like so, being a strapping six footer weighing in at a not-unhealthy fourteen stone, I got the bastard in a head-lock and blew smoke in his eyes. “How’d d’ye like THEM onions, you whinging little shit?” says I as hotel staff wrestled me off him. Ah! Those were the days!

    I’m surprised you could taste your drink anyway, what with the stench of all those cars pumping out carbon monoxide up your easily-offended nose.

    Have a cigar!

  74. Arete

    Thank you for such an insightful post! I’m always complaining about the people smoking in my public space. If they have the right to smoke around me, then don’t I have the same right to NOT have them smoke around me? I used to smoke (I was young, stupid, and influenced by peer pressure), but I got wise quick and quit cold turkey and have never looked back. To this day I’m extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke and can’t stand it to be near me.

    The quote below is for all those smokers that have been complaining in your comments. Per Wikipedia: “Urine is sterile the second it is expelled from a human. Therefore fresh urine can be used to clean wounds in emergencies, when no alternatives are available. Urine only becomes contaminated when it has been standing for a time.” Now compare that to what I just read is contained in cigarette smoke: “There are 4,000 chemicals and 43 of which are known as carcinogenic compounds in cigarettes… Nitrosamine is a carcinogenic compound found in cigarette smoke but not in uncured tobacco leaves.”

    Now for all you smokers out there, one can avoid the urine on the ground, and smelling it’s stench is not going to do anything to you even if there is bacteria growing on it, but inhaling second-hand smoke will kill you.

    Chris, keep fighting the fight! :-)

  75. Smoking causes dry skin, yellow fingers, wrinkled faces, and bad breath. Not to mention the fact that the smoker’s hair, clothing, and automobiles smell terrible.

    To read the rest of this post about the effects of smoking you can go to

  76. James Old Guy

    Riding my scooter,, roflmao..I find it hard to take anything serious after reading that statement. Oh and for all you whining brats, I care a concealed weapon so if my smoking in public bothers you , I can always shoot ya to put you our of your misery.

  77. Its interesting to consider… I notice it so much more in NYC than in places where you can still smoke in public places. In NYC It seems that EVERYONE is smoking! The streets are lined with smokers and everyone walks there more than in most communities… so its just more pedominent. (Not to mention that there are just more people there in general!)

    cheers! Kate

  78. george

    smoking izsa awesome

  79. Ok, first smoker to approach this rationally here. The first thing I’d point to is the fact that there’s a difference between considerate and inconsiderate smokers. Considerate smokers find an alley or other relatively out-of-the-way place to go have their cig, inconsiderate smokers walk down busy sidewalks in crowds – the big worry not being the smoke so much as trying not to burn those inconsiderate bastards that bump into everyone because they’re in such a damnable hurry to get wherever they’re going.

    Still I would like to shed some perspective on this. You live in NYC, one of the smelliest, most overpopulated, and most polluted regions on earth. You’re complaining about a few people with cigarettes? How do you think the more rural regions who take your trash and sewage and general filth from the East River look at city people in general? How are they *supposed* to feel when they see the multitude of monstertruck SUVs, Hummers, and various other transports not designed for packed urban life rolling around cities such as yours? Hmm?

    I come from Chicago. I now live and go to school in West Michigan, in a backwoods area with amazingly clean air. I still find it ironic that the biggest whiners about cigarettes as pollutants come from douchebags driving their SUVs around the city, creating a general air quality that will surely kill them before second-hand smoke will. I’m not implying that you have an SUV, although if you do, you should just stop here and reassess your choices. What I’m implying is that there are much bigger fish to fry, when talking about city air quality.

    Next time, before you go begging for legislation, why not walk around the person and realize them for the inconsiderate ass they are. Dealing with inconsiderate people your own instead of asking for laws to do it for you generally make for a closer-knit society and higher social capital.

    Also: Judging from the picture on your blog, with the party-cup in hand, you like to party. Will you concede that drunks running amok in city streets or driving are a danger to society, and that drinking and driving is not unusual in large cities? If so, are you next going to blog for prohibition?

    re: Jeff Ventura – You dated her knowing she was a smoker. How is that an imposition on your life? If you don’t like smokers, don’t date them. I don’t care if they’re “ridiculously hot” this doesn’t mean she’s any more or less required to change for your ass. Oh, and how is cigarette smoking disgusting but cigars are not? Cigars stink worse and put out a hell of alot more smoke than a cig does.

    re: BPP – Your swarthy attitude surprises and astounds me. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  80. Very interesting site, read it all :)

  81. chris

    pedominent, adj., prominent or predominant among pedestrians.

    This is my new favorite new word.

  82. David Raho,

    i believe that riding a scooter should be illegal prior to the banning of smoking. tis a shame about your “$400 coat” though.

  83. naql

    Thanks so much for your insightful post! I actually love to urinate in public, and pass gas too, but thanks to the slimy stogie clamped between my yellow teeth, I don’t notice the smell at all.


  84. Tunderpants McGee, thanks for trying to be rational about this. And thank you for being a considerate smoker – I do know that they exist. But I’m tired of hearing the argument that because I live in New York City, cigarette smoke should be the least of my worries.

    I don’t drive an SUV. I don’t drive at all, in fact. I use public transit. Personally, I think that people who choose to drive in New York City are idiots.

    But this issue goes beyond New York City. And unfortunately, elsewhere in this country, driving is not a choice – it is a necessity. I believe we should do more to make cities and towns walkable and expand public transit, but that’s a major policy issue, and it will take decades to untangle the sprawl in this country. Simply outlawing driving outright is not the logical solution to our dirty air problem.

    Smoking, on the other hand, is a personal choice. Policies are already in place to reduce secondhand smoke and its negative effects. Smoking can be done in private clubs, on private property, and behind closed doors. Secondhand smoke is unhealthy in any quantity, and the public should not be forced to be exposed to it because of someone else’s poor decision-making.

    By the way, the party cup is simply there so I can remain incognito. And originally, I was going to make the more logical argument that since open alcohol containers are illegal in public, cigarette smoking should be, too. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as fun to write.

  85. I think belching in her face would have been appropriate. I mean, honestly, what could she say?

    But not if you had just had some peanut butter. I hear that shit’s dangerous.

  86. I came into the world designed, and expecting, to breathe clean air. I have not been modified to inhale and thrive upon second-hand cigarette smoke. So when governments pass legislation to ban smoking in “public places”, will they include the street or the railway station platform? Like fuck they will.

  87. maryt

    I quit smoking 2 years ago. I now run a support group for quitters or people trying to quit. I am going to run off your excellent post and hand it out to my group. I hope it’s okay. It’ll really help some.


  88. Perhaps serial urinators should put out those cigarettes by hosing them down after drinking gallons of coffee. Preferably while they’re still holding them with their fingers, or even better, lips!
    Downside could be that the activity could turn out to be a big hit at clubs.

  89. astarwashere

    I personally don’t feel there is a similarity between smoking and urinating. One can follow the histories of both the tobacco industry and the advancement of modern waste management. Given the facts I can easily see how it’s legal for me to smoke at a bus stop, but not urinate. Using the “feel” of these statements I can somewhat understand the comparison of smoke and urine. However, it didn’t lead me to conclude that I should think of them equally.

  90. MmmSmoke

    Hah lisa rosenthal that second post of yours cracked me up…..But yeah we smokers have it rough. I’m sorry if an accidental cloud of my march to the grave ever ends up in your face and sends you into a potentially violent, juice-fueled rage, but the truth is (like a few people have already said) this isn’t primarily a health issue. Compared to the it’s-better-not-to-know-the-specifics awesome amount of pollutants we’re all subjected to daily just living here, the impact of sporadic second-hand smoke is pretty damn negligible. As for the whole littering with butts thing, I, and the majority of smokers I know, always look for a trashcan. Yes, apparently there are some bad apples within the smoking community (gasp) , but I see plenty of discarded beer cans – and juice bottles – dirtying it up and I’ve never thought “I’ve had it with this. I’m breakin’ me off a piece of some good ol’ fashioned prohibition”. Oh, and if you (and nonsmokers in general) find cigarette smoke gross, tough cookies. You can’t make things illegal because they’re gross. If you could Gawker would’ve been permanently shut down after posting those Eric Schaeffer testimonials. Blech.

  91. knilli

    Basically people just don’t use common sense or have any manners. While I don’t enjoy the smell of cig smoke and will generally avoid places where I have to be exposed to it (I live somewhere where smoking is NOT banned in public places), I also respect the right of people to smoke. But common sense should dictate that you don’t blow it another person’s face. Fortunately, most smokers I’ve encountered don’t do that.

    Just like decent manners should say, you don’t talk loudly on your cell phone in a restaurant or in a public bathroom (what’s that about anyway?!), you don’t cut in lines, you don’t cough in someone’s face, etc., if people would just be a bit nicer and less self-centered, the world would be happier.

    Yep, it’s a lot of tree-hugging hippy crap I know!

  92. Man

    Oh, and if you (and nonsmokers in general) find cigarette smoke gross, tough cookies.

    How do you smokers possibly expect us to feel bad for your “oppression” when you say shit like that? We shouldn’t have to suffer because of your poor decision-making skills and your inability to heed blatantly obvious warnings about the dangers of smoking. Smokers are the ones who fucked up. Get off your high horses.

  93. Tim

    It would appear that the key to this urine/bacteria issue is to keep it off the sidewalk, and up in people’s faces where it will remain sterile. That’s why we call them “peons” and not “the unwashed masses.” – Tim

  94. Tunderpants — I dated her not knowing she was a smoker. Then I found out she smoked. But she was gorgeous, so I decided to see how long I could hang out. Turns out, not very long.

    I never asked her to change, but thanks for illogically jumping to that completely wrong conclusion.

    I also never once said that cigars are OK by me but cigarettes are not — I was illustrating the odd double standard that exists with respect to public smoking. Again, though, thanks for jumping to your wild conclusion. You have a gift.

  95. I smoke I smoke I smokeeeeee everywhere!

  96. I am all for public urinaters as long as they piss on non-smokers.

  97. Atherton Bartelby

    I actually agree with you 100%.

    And I’m a smoker.

    (Albeit a very considerate one, especially when I am in public.)

  98. Oh if only you coulda just pissed on her, eh?

  99. Was it at least a menthol death stick? They’re minty fresh. Yum!!!

    Maybe smokers can wear a bubble over their heads while they enjoy a smoke in public. They’d get to recycle their own smoke and keep it the Hell away from us.

  100. Man has the East Village gotten soft. Used to be you’d get your face cut past 1st Avenue if you WEREN’T smoking.

    I’m all for politeness, but have you been paying attention to the weather in New York for the past oh, two hundred years? It’s erratically windy. I’m sure she didn’t mean to ruin your Jamba Juice, sweetheart.

    Are you also the kind of guy that calls in noise complaints to 311?

  101. Newms

    Maybe NYC isn’t cut out for people so super-sensitive. Maybe you could live in a city where you drive everywhere that you go, so that you never have to come into contact with other people’s smells and personalities. Me, I dig it, and I don’t smoke. I’m happy to be surrounded by all you emmer-effers!

  102. I applaud this strong reaction! see this blurb on anti-smoking laws taking effect in Paris on 01 Feb 2007…

    and if they can do it, then so can you New Yorkers. NYC will soon follow in their example I am sure.Smoking is so passe…:) and not hip at all, I think.

  103. Pingback: Quit smoking. Now. « tabula rasa

  104. “It’s erratically windy. I’m sure she didn’t mean to ruin your Jamba Juice, sweetheart.”

    Is ‘MissedManners’ implying that if someone was peeing on the corner and the erratic wind blew the pee into his/her nose, s/he wouldn’t be pissed off about being pissed on?

  105. Cheer9020

    Stupid Luser! Are you stupud? This is a gay post!

  106. MmmSmoke

    Man: Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to argue that cigarettes are the most awesome shit to hit the planet since the pyramids or that smokers are the new lepers. Everyone knows cigarettes kill, everyone knows tobacco reeks, and I seriously doubt there’s a smoker out there who expects (or wants) any pity.
    Come on though, blaming “poor decision-making skills” for the popularity of smoking? Oversimplification aside, that general attitude can come off as more than a little morally presumptuous.
    But yeah, ‘grossness’ is relative, and since (I’m assuming) you don’t have any health conditions making cigarette smoke an actual danger to your life, I really don’t think it’s a good enough reason to ban it outdoors in the city. Smoking outside isn’t an epidemic, just an annoyance. I for one do not throw on my heels and hit the streets, lit cigarette in hand, looking for people to terrorize with my ‘dry skin, yellow fingers, wrinkled face, and bad breath’. And hey, if you ever want to go somewhere there’s absolutely no chance you’ll have to socialize with some smoking bastard, you have your choice of any non-residential building in the city.

  107. Haha, nah, Timothy D, I’m implying that the outrage hardly fits the crime, especially considering that it was most likely unintentional. It would seem the evidiot would rather prefer being accidentally urinated on, if your logic follows.

    Though I must add that I’m a smoker and incredibly hypocritical about my own selective outrage, so rant on, please.

  108. What a waste of people’s time. Get a life ya’ll!

  109. Pingback: Blogorrhea NYC: Some Very Important Questions › Celebrity Load - celebrities without secrets

  110. Well, it looks like I went a long way with my mock-rage. I was just a little miffed that this person blew smoke right in my face, while standing at a crowded corner where she should not have been smoking. I know all smokers aren’t like this. In fact, I applauded the ones on here who said they’re considerate. I wasn’t even trying to pick a fight with smokers, but they all decided to pick a fight with me. I guess the nicotine gets you smokers all wound up.

    I’m staying out of this discussion for the rest of whatever becomes of this thread, but since we all seem to be stooping to name-calling now, I might as well just say this:

    For those of you so caught up in arguing for the rights of smokers while completely ignoring the rights of non-smokers, I hope you stick your ignorant heads further up your asses. That way, there’s no way we’ll ever have to breathe in any of your toxic smoke!

  111. It really bothers me when people smoke in crowded places, especially right beside the front doors of a building. UGH it’s SO GROSS! I have a 14 month old and I always say “hold your breath” to him….really loudly so people know I’m concerned about their disgusting smoke reaching my child’s lungs. Some lady was smoking while playing with her kid on the playground…I said something loudly then too…I’m a fan of having an occasional specialty smoke myself sometimes but not in crowds and not around children!!

  112. I didn’t realize that so many people would’ve found this post so offensive. I found it rather humorous. Maybe because of your handsomeness?

  113. Jeff Ventura,

    I’m trying to follow you here. First you say:

    “Her clothes smelled like smoke, her hair smelled like smoke, her breath reeked of smoke, and she tasted like smoke.”

    Then you say:

    “I dated her not knowing she was a smoker.”

    So which is it? I call bullshit. Not just on your self-serving little story, but also on the fact that a putz like you ever dated anyone ‘hot’ in the first place.

  114. I forgot to put in my other post about my mother … she was 49 when she passed from heart disease because of her smoking. Lucky for her though, her heart attack blew her main artery out so she went pretty quickly and wasn’t in that terrible pain for too long, only half and hour or so from start to finish. If they had managed to save her, she would have been totally incapacitated for the rest of her life, however long that would have been. As we were waiting for the ambulance and her doctor to come, all she was worried about was me spraying air freshener in the room so that they wouldn’t know she had just had a smoke. Her last words to me were … ‘don’t ever start smoking, love’. Her skin was so white at that moment it was transparent. Her smoking robbed her grandchildren of getting to know her as they were only 3yrs old and 14 months … and I was only 23.

    That is why I get so pissed at smokers …. excuse me for being passionate about it …. :-(

  115. It’s hard to get people to stay away from smoking since it has been their addiction since they were young. Luckily nowadays, with more penetration of education into poor society, hopefully we will see the day of a civil community that inhabits no smokers. Sad to say, third world countries such as my place, education haven’t really catch up at rural areas and corruption of the government have worsen the situation to curb the problem of smoking. Sigh, I wish that we are more like our neighbour.

  116. i hate you all… can`t you people write short comments so I can read them without taking half of my day off to do just that…

    on a side note: public urinating is illegal?? whoops, couldn`t somebody warn me beforehand…
    second you can use cigarettes to cauterize wounds, been there done that so it`s 1:1 for cigs vs. urine on that behalf… if as many people were to urinate publicly as people are smoking i guess the poluting of certain areas would be much higher as well as the risk of slipping would increase exponentially.
    so now it`s 1:2
    however the healthiness of your “own” urine is a proven fact just as is the unhealthiness of tobacco so we are back at square one… all that is left for me to conclude right now is this: “Stop smoking and start drinking your urine.” It`s healthy and keeps the earth clean…
    See yàll on the healthy side of life :D

  117. First of all, my sincere apologies to those of you who crafted a thoughtful post and executed your thoughts eloquently. Why? Because the rest of the page is filled with ignorant bastards who caused me to skip your posts.

    First, for those of you whining about Chris complaining about this on a blog: shut the fuck up. No, seriously. Maybe you haven’t noticed it through your personal deluge of self-righteous bullshit, but this is HIS BLOG!

    Secondly, I feel like it’s not realistic to ban smoking in public. Hell, 20-foot rules are hardly enforced by anyone. I do believe that some sort of compromise ought to be reached (and enforced). I don’t know what that compromise is, but I hope someone brighter than me comes up with one soon.

    Thirdly, while this is Chris’ blog, you can almost bet he’s pandering to his audience at least a little bit. A post saying “Some bitch blew smoke in my face… it was teh sux” would be even less well-recieved than this one. So he jazzed it up a bit. Is he really this pissed off over an inconsiderate asshole? Given the number of inconsiderate assholes around, I’d say no. In closing, lighten up. Damn!

  118. Speaking on a two-way on a closed subway car should be illegal.

  119. Pingback: If urinating in public is illegal, smoking in public should be illegal. « Untrained Professional with OCD

  120. Ron

    You’re right. I think people should be free to smoke in public and I should also be encouraging my friends to join me in a fight to be free to urinate in public. Late night, after-bar public urination is easy. You’ll know we are succeeding when we see Starbucks customers coming outside in the bright morning sunshine to piss on the curb, coffee drink in one hand, cigarette between their lips.

  121. Tim

    Peeing while talking on a two-way in a closed subway car should be legal. :D – Tim

  122. WOW – I’m exhausted from reading all this . . . people who smoke have no concept of how much breathing space is polluted by a single cigarette. People who throw cigarettes on the ground and from their cars are cretins. People who smoke cigars and spit, equally so. I cannot stand the connection between freedom and cigarettes — nothing about addiction relates to freedom.

    Tobacco alters the brain chemistry of smokers — true fact — making them unable to accept the truth of what they’re doing to themselves. Go to the BODIES exhibit and check out the black lungs, then tell me it’s not insane to smoke.

    Southern plantation living slave owners got rich off of tobacco 200 years ago and today their descendants are still doing so, laughing all the way to the bank. My sister refused to ride the cable cars on a vacation to San Francisco — because she couldn’t smoke on them. It’s a sickness.

  123. Pingback: New York: City of Peeves #47 « east village idiot

  124. Kevin

    When someone blows smoke in my face, I spit in their face in return. It’s just as disgusting, it’s something that has been held in my throat and then passed back through my mouth into their face, the only difference is…my spit won’t take even a second off of their life.

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