When I was a teen my Mom & Dad F owned a café and we sold tobacco products. Almost every day, among my other jobs, I would refill the wooden rack with the various brands of cigarettes. When people came in to buy a pack I would hand it over and ring up the sale.
I never thought twice about the right or wrong of it; it was simply part of my job. I didn’t smoke, thus I had no interest in those packages other than to fill the racks. I had no craving for what was inside. On the contrary, I’d seen a few pictures of tar-blackened smokers’ lungs, looking about the colour of the fresh asphalt being spread on the highway outside our door–and I sure didn’t want mine to look like that!
So, even though I was aware of evidence coming forth about cigarettes causing cancer and other diseases, as far as my own personal interest is concerned, I was handling them innocently. But the time came when my Dad got cancer as a direct result of smoking. It started in his sinus, erupted in open sores on his face, ate away at his nose bone and eye socket, and spread to his brain. He looked so awful as the cancer messed up his face!
After that I hated tobacco. Not the actual product, but what it could do to people’s lives–what it did to my father and so many others. First of all, all that money going up in smoke. The years of slavery; innocent babes living in smoke-filled homes, having their lungs damaged every day. Then the suffering and death, whether from cancer, emphysema, COPD or other diseases.
While I oppose smoking for health reasons and the waste of money, I hate it for what it has done to someone I love. When I was looking for employment, I refused to work at any jobs where I’d be involved in handling and selling tobacco products. I can’t claim innocence anymore.