Walking home from work tonight, with the temperature plummeting rapidly and already down below 10 degrees, I saw one of the people at the outdoor bus stop in front of the Ohio Statehouse smoking a cigarette. And I thought: “Really? Smoking in these ridiculous temperatures?”
Kish makes fun of me, because as a long reformed ex-smoker — I puffed my last cigarette more than 25 years ago and am forever happy that I quit when I did — I’m always quick to wonder aloud how anyone can smoke, period, even though I smoked off and on for a number of years. In that regard, I’m like the one-time sinner turned into a holier-than-thou convert. But if smoking under normal conditions seems crazy, given its abundantly documented health risks, smoking a cigarette outside in these temperatures seems especially insane. In fact, there is some evidence that smoking outside during freezing temperatures is even worse for you than smoking is generally.
In Columbus, you can’t smoke in most buildings as a matter of law, so at our firm, and in other businesses, the few remaining smokers have to go outside to indulge in their habit. You’d think that, as the mercury plunges into bitterly cold territory, the smokers would decide to refrain from going outside into the deep freeze and maybe even consider quitting altogether. But when you pass the smoking area outside, behind our building, there’s always a few people puffing away, even on a day like today. They look terribly cold, and act like they feel terribly cold, but they’re out there smoking, anyway. It’s a pretty good indication of how addictive smoking is for some people — and a pretty good advertisement for why you shouldn’t start smoking in the first place.