New York to Smokers; Kill Yourself By yourself!

You know the feeling well if you’ve ever walked down a busy city street and had that busy corporate chic, or that loud ghetto person, or the Euro-centric hipster blow back their cancer-stick smoke, bitch-slapping you in the face. Ahh…Metropolitan living…

For the life of me, I can’t understand what would drive someone in this day and age in American society to put a cigarette in their mouth. Maybe if this wasn’t the decade after 2 previous decades of startling revelations about Big Tobacco and very thought-provoking anti-smoking ads. It’s almost like picking up a crack pipe after the early 90’s. And we all know “Crack Is Wack!”.

Still and all, as evidenced by the overabundance of marijuana blowers out there, people just really LOVE inhaling carcinogens and bullying their lungs. Either that, or the majority of folks out there just have an oral fixation (no wonder so many chics I meet love giving head since the turn of the century).

It blows my mind how many smokers out there tell me that after a while, what they crave is the actual social motor function of pulling something in and out of their mouths more so than the actual nicotine addiction. That would be more psychological than physiological. Some are addicted to the calm that it brings them, albeit a calm that they never felt or knew existed prior to picking up that first stog. And even after. I’ve heard that that calming effect is not a guaranteed by-product of cigarettes, rather one that develops after becoming a full-out smoker and the nicotine has caused an habitual bodily response.

I say all of this because New York is taking great strides to eradicate the fumes from the public gathering areas and confine smoking to an at-home space in the long-run. Basically, a if you’re gonna kill yourself slowly, do it in your own place kind of campaign.

Last week, Great Neck, NY saw the passing of the toughest smoking ban yet in the country. The new law prohibits smoking on sidewalks, in front of commercial buildings and the park. It relegates smokers to light up only at home, in their cars or less open areas like parking lots. Offenders would see themselves fined up to $1,000 or even locked up.

This comes on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg‘s 2010 announcement of plans to extend New York City‘s smoking ban to include outdoor plazas, Parks, board walks and beaches across the 5 boros (yeah, I know how I spelled it. I like my way better…just like Iam, Tho and Thoro). If such an extension occurs, then smokers can say bye-bye to taking a drag at their favorite recreational refuge.

Without a doubt, the smokers have come out fighting and in an uproar, even garnering support from non-smokers who simply consider themselves liberal and see such bans as a violation of rights. Well let’s at least consider the health implications here, which is the basis of these legal actions in the first place. Remember my example of having the smoke blown in your face at the beginning of the post. I even know smokers who hate that! Now let’s factor in the secondhand smoke. According to a CBSnews post on the issue by Aina Hunter, “the city’s health department says 57 percent of nonsmoking New Yorkers have elevated levels of cotitine, a byproduct of nicotine, in their blood. That means they were likely recently exposed to secondhand smoke in concentrations high enough to leave behind residue in the body.”

So, if it’s not obvious, I’m all for it. My boy woke up on his birthday unable to breathe last month only to hear the doctor tell him he HAS to quit smoking…And he’s under 30! The quality of a smoker’s life is not more important than the quality of life in general. I think of my mom who’s been smoking most of her life, and picture her getting a ticket and being outraged, and me smiling…

Get a new habit New Yorkers. BlowPops are supposed to be cancerous too, but they’ll satisfy your oral fixation, they taste a hell of a lot better and are a hundred times cheaper! Aren’t packs like $12 now?? That’s gas money fools. At least pollute the air for a purpose.

TDJ’s Dad saves the Day! PT. 2 – The Interview

Okay, ok…

I jacked this from Esssence.com, which is one of several places that have been stealing our leading Lady, TDJ, away from this blog and making your favorite section, Sex & The Chocolate City, virtually extinct! But I did figure that this would be the perfect follow-up to my last post about her dad being the clever New Yorker who discovered the now infamous failed Car bomb in Times Square and became a hero for alerting the authorities. Besides, she’s our own. In this article, she not only interviews her father herself, but she shares her own thoughts on the happenings. Here’s her take in her own words…

My Dad has been working under the Planters Peanut sign on 45th and Broadway for more than a decade. He’s my official landmark whenever I’m in the city. I practically grew up in Times Square with him. I’ll never forget the day he came home talking about some man playing a guitar in his underwear and a cowboy hat. He was barely fazed by it. People know him as the “Mayor.” The other vendors, from the t-shirt guys to the caricature artists to the hot dog stand owners, know me as his daughter.

Dad rarely overreacts about anything and it drives my family insane. No matter the situation, he seems to always stay amazingly poised and relaxed during the most dire of circumstances; whether it’s rushing a child to the emergency room or an ash cloud barreling toward him on 9/11. He’s always said, “If you see everyone running in one direction, just stand still. Observe, think, then react.” This advice has saved me on many occasions. So, I wasn’t surprised by his reaction to the potential car bomb, a mere eight feet away from his normal spot.

When I saw the pictures of the truck and the explosives inside it, the only thought that crossed my mind was “Wow, I could have lost him.” The explosion would have been unavoidable. Losing him would’ve crushed me.

I know everyone now considers him to be a hero along with the other vendors and policemen, but he’s always been my hero. He instilled in me, at a very young age, to be an independent woman and self-reliant. Teaching me how to drive when I was thirteen, how to balance a checkbook, and how to iron a crease that could cut someone if they stood too close. But whenever I need him, he’s there. He’s rescued me on several occasions when my car broke down in the middle of the night, and he’s chased away a few spiders. I realize not many women have had that experience growing up. For that, I am more grateful that I have him in my life.

He, of course, doesn’t see himself as a hero. He considers himself a normal guy. He visits my 101-year-old Grandpa every Tuesday to give him a shave, plays 18 holes of golf, and is the President of the Vietnam Veterans of America chapter. People are now stopping by his stand, buying purses, taking a picture, showing him so much love. Words cannot express how proud I am of him, but then again, that’s nothing new. I’m just glad everyone is catching up to what I’ve known all my life.

TIFFANY JACKSON: Hey, Dad.
DUANE JACKSON: Hey, sweetie.

TIFFANY: You’ve been a New Yorker forever. People generally tend to mind their own business and rarely speak up. You did the opposite. Do you think that your action will encourage more to speak and act? Is this something that should be taught and promoted more?
DUANE: It’s a combination. I saw something that looked suspicious, told a police officer, and fortunately the bomb didn’t go off. Some folks who were there walked by and saw what happened and thought that they could’ve have been hurt if that bomb went off. In the short term, I think there will be more of a sense of awareness, not only in New York but around the country. In the long run, we need to teach and preach the idea of being aware and not taking anything for granted. You should always be aware of your surrounding in a commercial space.

TIFFANY: Do you think your military experience had anything to do with your reaction?
DUANE: Definitely. The military teaches you discipline, how to be cautious, and how to react in certain situations.

TIFFANY: Got any words of advice?
DUANE: I say “If you see something, and feel something, tell someone. And don’t fear having a friendly relationship with the police, fire department, even teachers. Those people are always on guard.”

TIFFANY: Okay, thanks Daddy.
DUANE: You’re welcome, baby girl.

Tiffany Jackson is a Video Producer and Writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Follow her on Twitter @Writeinbk

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