Mariam is studying for a Fine Art BTEC Diploma. She's always been an opinionated little madam and hopes to develop her interest in new media and journalism. She also realises that she'll have to give up on her dreams of being a tortured artist in order to make money for future travelling.
Hackneyed health views annoy Mariam, especially when they relate to smoking.
I'm a smoker and I'm sick of it being implied I'm an unhealthy cancerous growth on society. Prejudiced opinions gleaned solely from the media are particularly unwelcome. People haven't gained their knowledge from reasoned debate, but from churned out statistic saturated reports on yet another slow news day.
Contrary to belief, I don't smoke to be part of the crowd or to be cool. Nor was I pressured to start smoking and it's not a family trait. Rather, I am an individual who believes in keeping an open mind, being reasonable and trying everything at least once. I have spent a great deal of my life being ordinary, healthy and non-conformist without being a rebel; I even waited until I was legally old enough to buy cigarettes.
I'm not saying smokers are better or healthier or will live as long as others. My view is that health should be a personal issue and that vices like smoking, drinking alcohol or eating fast food are the choice of an individual. Just take a look at war veterans like my grandfathers who defy health reports. The non-smoker of the pair passed away 20 years ago, whilst the man who enjoys a toke on tobacco is still alive. More famously there was the case of Henry Allingham, a World War One veteran who was the oldest man in Britain until the 18th of July 2009 and attributed his long life to "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women".
"I go out of my way to find suitable places to enjoy my cigarette, away from the general public, preferably in the great outdoors."
So it really tries my patience when people feel they have the right to dramatically splutter as they pass me having a puff, or to grumble under their breath. I go out of my way to find suitable places to enjoy my cigarette, away from the general public, preferably in the great outdoors. And if children walk past I even hold my breath because I dont want to contribute to any ill health.
Finally a word to those who stare at smokers in disgust: if you really believe that a little bit of smoke from me can somehow give you cancer, then you have the right to walk on the opposite path, just as I have the right to light up.
Angry? Submit a rant