Is there an acceptable way to ask strangers not to smoke around your child? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We actually left the playground today because parents were smoking ON the playground equipment. Not near it, not sitting on the benches nearby (which also drives me nuts, they leave their butts everywhere) but ON the equipment. Seriously, if your kid needs help on the playground, can't you put out your cigarette first??? (Sorry, this just REALLY gets to me).

Anyway so I wanted to say something... like, "Oh my son is allergic to smoke, could you smoke over there?" ('Cause well, isn't everyone technically *allergic* to smoke??) But I don't feel right saying that. And I can't think of any other way to ask. I think partly I'm intimidated by smokers. I have this stereotype that they are all tough don't-mess-with-me types (though I know that's not always true & have met many approachable smokers!)

But I don't want DS playing in smoke!! Gross!!!!

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#2 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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"Excuse me, could you please not smoke so close to my child?"

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#3 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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Some cities, towns and states do not allow smoking in playgrounds, sports fields for school age kids, etc.. maybe you should check your city's rules to see what they say... but I wouldn't hesitate to say- "Excuse me, I or DC are severe asthmatics, could I ask you to please not smoke for the short time we're here because it could cause me to need immediate medical attention."
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#4 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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I'd probably just frequent other playgrounds. But then, I hate confrontation.

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#5 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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you cant predict how people will react. for some its something they have never even thought about so they are grateful you pointed it out. for some depending on where they are in life, might give you a dirty look or a finger or some choice words.

i'd still say something politely. i hate going behind their back and complaining. something like Ruthla wrote.

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#6 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 06:55 PM
 
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My way probably isn't an acceptable way but I give them serious stinkeye and then whisper loudly to other parents that I'm with about how rude and ignorant it is. I know, I'm soooooo mature!
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#7 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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Go with asking directly like Ruthla said and hope to goodness they'd just forgot it was in their hand.
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#8 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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I tend to act really disgusted and wave the smoke away, they usually get the point.
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#9 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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I'm an ex-smoker and would have no problem asking them politely not to smoke on the playground equipment. Smoking is an adult activity and there's no reason they need to do it in a children's area. I think if you're polite but firm about it there's no reason to assume they'll react badly.

It's not like you're planning to shriek something like, "Hey, Black Lung! Get your stinking coffin nails away from the playground!"

(Right?)

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#10 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 07:09 PM
 
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I approach with a smile and ask them to please not smoke near my son. He IS allergic to tobacco (it's a nightshade, along with tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers). Sometimes they comply, sometimes not. But if don't ask, they definitely won't stop.
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#11 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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Yes on what Ruthla wrote and then I'd write to parks and rec or whoever was maintaining the playground to please put up No Smoking signs.
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#12 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Just ask nicely.

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#13 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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Unless the place prohibits smoking, the smoking person has as much right to stand there smoking as you do to stand there not smoking. Unless the area restricts it, your child has no "right" not to be smoked around.

So, if it was me, I wouldn't say anything.
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#14 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 08:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post
Unless the place prohibits smoking, the smoking person has as much right to stand there smoking as you do to stand there not smoking. Unless the area restricts it, your child has no "right" not to be smoked around.

So, if it was me, I wouldn't say anything.
Just because you don't have a legal right to something doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't ask for it. Smoke is unhealthy for people to breathe. Politely asking someone to stop doing something that is unhealthy for your child isn't rude or unacceptable. In fact, I think it is totally socially unacceptable to smoke on playgrounds. Something doesn't have to be illegal in order to not be okay.
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#15 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 08:52 PM
 
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Just because you don't have a legal right to something doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't ask for it. Smoke is unhealthy for people to breathe. Politely asking someone to stop doing something that is unhealthy for your child isn't rude or unacceptable. In fact, I think it is totally socially unacceptable to smoke on playgrounds. Something doesn't have to be illegal in order to not be okay.
I agree with this. Especially as the parent of a child who, while not diagnosed as asthmatic, does tend to wheeze when exposed to various allergens. It's not that his right to be there outweighs their right to smoke, it's that them smoking could possibly cause him to have a a life-threatening response and their NOT smoking will not cause them to have a life-threatening response, KWIM?

If someone is smoking near us in public, we typically just move as fast as possible because I'm afraid of confrontation and we really can not be around it at all.
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#16 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I'm just afraid of confrontation too I really wanted to say something but I knew we needed to be leaving soon anyway so I just left. I had asked the Parks & Rec dept. about no smoking signs a few weeks ago but they said I had to call the Garage & I couldn't find their number. I love that playground because it has shade & DS enjoys their unique equipment & it's really close by -- but maybe we should just go to other playgrounds.

I know they have a 'right' to be there but I still find it shocking that they'd actually smoke ON the equipment. But smoking in general drives me nuts, I honestly wish they'd ban it in public places (including outdoors) because I feel like I can't walk 20 feet from home without walking through a cloud of smoke.

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#17 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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I've been wondering the same thing, since so many people smoke in the big park near home. Worse, so many are smoking weed--which I assume can't be good for DD (although maybe it would make her sleep better... hmmm.....LOL).

I get all hot and bothered by it, but chicken out before saying anything. I always assume people who smoke these days will try to do it away from groups of people--especially kids! Smoking is illegal in restaurants and bars here, so it surprises me that people still light up in public places when others are around.

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#18 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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I just ask them to stop smoking or move somewhere else. I abhor smoking and I find that most smokers are inconsiderate, in my experience, so I will try to be polite but if the smoker is inconsiderate I will escalate it to get them to move or stop smoking. I live in a state that has very good anti-smoking laws so if we are somewhere and people are smoking, most likely they are not legally supposed to be smoking there.
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#19 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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I will never understand why some think they have the "right" to infringe their unhealthy habit upon others. That is no right. One can do what they want to their OWN body but NOT in the safe haven in a playground for kids! Come on!

I will and have said something when I see someone smoking at the playground. That is one huge peeve of mine. Don't bring your nasty smoky cigs to a place specifically for kids. If someone were to get nasty they would get an earful from me. And I am an ex smoker, but one who was courteous when I did it. I hate the things now.

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#20 of 72 Old 08-18-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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I guess for me it depends on the setup of the playground. If that's the only equipment around, I would say something. "Excuse me, I'm allergic to cigarette smoke, and we would like to enjoy this public park." If they're on a piece of equipment, but there's other equipment uprange / out of the way, I'd just avoid the area where the smokers are.

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#21 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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I'd probably move to another area of the park to avoid the smoke. You should also check with your parks and recreation department. If smoking isn't allowed at the playground maybe a sign can be put up.
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#22 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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As an ex-smoker I was hyper-aware of who I was around when I did smoke. If I smoked out in public (rarely unless in a designated smoking area) I always made sure I was FAR away from anyone that I thought might have any problem with it.

In my experience, someone who is a smoker knows that people who don't smoke don't want to be around it. They've probably heard it a million times. If they have the audacity to smoke on a playground they probably won't be very open to someone asking them to stop. I don't believe that 'they don't know and would be grateful that you pointed it out'. They know.

I'd probably just move to another part of the playground. If one of my kids said something about the smoke, I would say, "yeah, smoke is stinky. Let's go play over there." I wouldn't bother to lower my voice.
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#23 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 02:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittynurse View Post
My way probably isn't an acceptable way but I give them serious stinkeye and then whisper loudly to other parents that I'm with about how rude and ignorant it is. I know, I'm soooooo mature!
It's not mature but it gets the point hammered into some people's dense heads.

And yes, I'm an ex-smoker, yet even as a stupid self-centered teen I had enough sense not to smoke in a place meant for young children so I stand by my "dense heads" comment.
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#24 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 02:46 AM
 
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I'd just point out that play grounds are for children, and they should be given a clean environment to play in.

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#25 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 02:49 AM
 
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i just passive agressively cough and complain loudly lol
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#26 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 03:00 AM
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ITA with Ruthla. Don't be passive aggressive, just ask them politely to stop or move.
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#27 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 03:01 AM
 
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I just ask people to stop. My husband is better at it than I am, though, because he's a smoker and commiserates with them while politely asking if they can move it away.
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#28 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 08:07 AM
 
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A couple years ago my g/f and I were at a playground close to our homes and there was a guy there smoking while climbing the structure with his kid. Now this was a smallish structure and between my three kids, my g/f's two and this guy's one, it was pretty crowded. Our first reaction was to laugh hysterically because WHO THE (Bleep) SMOKES AT A PLAYGROUND ANYWAY???

After we regained our composure I just said Dude, can you ditch the smoke before you burn my kid's eyes out??

He did, and apologized, said he didn't even realize he still had it in his hand.

Most playgrounds now seem to have no smoking signs though, and actually one park in my area is designated and posted as a smoke free area - and it's the size of two city blocks - it's huge.

Kind of O/T but I once saw a couple having sex on a playground structure (again in my neighborhood) . I called the Parks and Rec. Dept and suggested they post a sign stating that sexual intercourse is not allowed at the playground but they didn't go for it, said it wasn't nessessary. I just figured they either thought I was joking or perhaps they were A-ok with that sort of playground behavior.
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#29 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 08:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
I will never understand why some think they have the "right" to infringe their unhealthy habit upon others. That is no right. One can do what they want to their OWN body but NOT in the safe haven in a playground for kids! Come on!

I will and have said something when I see someone smoking at the playground. That is one huge peeve of mine. Don't bring your nasty smoky cigs to a place specifically for kids. If someone were to get nasty they would get an earful from me. And I am an ex smoker, but one who was courteous when I did it. I hate the things now.
I get what you're saying. I don't want my kids around smoke, either. But someone DOES have the right to smoke unless there's a law or policy that says otherwise. Sure, you can ask someone not to smoke if you want to, but they can very easily say "no" and there's nothing inherently wrong with that.
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#30 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 09:11 AM
 
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"Come on, son, let's get you away from that nasty cigarette smoke. It's not healthy for you." ~Said just loud enough to be heard by said offender.

DH calls me a cigarette nazi. I can smell cigarettes two cars ahead of us in traffic. DS and I have asthma, so I'm very anti cigarette smoke (anti smoke, not the smoker!). However, I accept that "it's a free country" and they have the right to smoke. However, I also have the right to speak my mind about it, especially if they attempt to do it in front of my children.

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