Why so serious? (long post)

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Junior Member
Oct 23, 2013
I know quite a few people on here have had a few confrontations with non-smokers in public places about our hobby, with one member even having that confrontation turn physical a while back. Given some recent posts about dirty looks and what not, I thought about my own personal confrontation with a non smoker about 7 months ago. I was smoking with a couple of friends (they had cigars) on my friend's patio when a middle age woman came up to us and started telling us that smoking will kill us (needless to say her tone of voice was very unpleasant). My friends are very polite to people so they just smiled and nodded (plus they knew I'm not one to shy away from anything, especially a debate). So I calmly replied to her "so does time, automobiles, sex, judges in Texas, etc." She didn't like my answer and went on a tirade about how we were setting a bad example for kids while strongly inferring that we were contributing to their (possible) deaths (apparently she was not one to shy away from debates either). I tried to explain to her that people are responsible for their own choices in life which made her very upset. She called us scum (as if child killers wasn't bad enough) and stormed off. I often think back to that day (especially when I read about similar confrontations on here) and wonder why non smokers are so mad and judgmental? Is it the instinctual desire to control the actions of others? Is it the "group" mentality that creates an us vs. them conflict between smokers and non smokers? Is it blind irrational-ism or fanaticism? Or is it just genuine concern for the health of smokers (even if the concern is expressed in negative fashion)? Or is it something else? I notice that I find myself on the defensive when this kind of thing occurs and that my emotion gets in the way of me explaining our hobby in a clear and concise way. I think it is important for us to try and figure out why non smokers are so aggressive/passionate in their interactions with us so that we may better express the joys of our hobby and bring the risks into a more unbiased perspective (good or bad). What do ya'll (Yes, I'm from Texas) think?



Preferred Member
May 17, 2011
Northern New Jersey
People are nuts ... What more is there to say? Once when I was driving my truck with pipe firmly clenched a woman in the oncoming lane making a turn in front of me gave me a viscious horrified look, and I could see her lips moving as if she were screaming at me. She failed the turn and hit a telephone pole to my right. Not too strongly. But her airbag inflated. When the lights changed to green, I just kept on driving. Like I said. People are nuts.



Preferred Member
Oct 13, 2011
Puget Sound
I think nothing you say is likely to change her point of view.

Still a genuine good-natured smile and a truthful yet kind and polite reply has the best chance.

Anything less is likely to do more harm than good.

I'd like people to think the pipe smokers are not hot tempered, even if we are child killers.




Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
Some people have had health problems in their family that they attribute to smoking, though perhaps not pipe smoking,

and feel it is their assigned mission in life to crusade against smoking. A similar campaign was launched by temperance

organizations that ended in prohibition (of alcohol in the U.S.) for a while. On the other hand, in dealing with the public,

as any of you know who do it in your profession, you are going to run into nearly anything you can imagine. A large fraction

of the population is trying to work out their own anger and frustration by engaging in confrontations where ever they can

create them. We all know people who will debate with a door stop for hours with almost no provocation. Best not engage

them at all, or if you must, to do it in some degree of good humor and calculating your exit all the while. The world is full

of crazies, and while they may not be dangerous to you, you are sending them home to their frail elderly, helpless children,

and innocent companion animals.



Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
Chicago, IL
:rofl: Good story, Kashmir!
Face the facts. Smoking is not the most healthy thing to do.

Whether one should do it is based on personal risk/benefit decisions.

Some people feel they can dictate how I should live. I don't understand why.
Tom (mso489), very insightful post. Thanks.



Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2013
When people ask me nicely, I don't care a bit to explain to them about our hobby. On the other hand, when unprovoked people want to be an ass about it, I'll be an ass in reply! I have no use for people like that! Another thing, if she came onto private property just to bitch, she'd have got the cops called on her, and a good cussing while they were in transit! I know that might not have been the best way to handle things, but I can be a real bastard when I get pissed!



Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
I'm just wondering why the woman thought she had the right to trespass on your friends property and tell all of you how to live your lives. The way I see it, I'd have probably said in a very polite (because I'm from Texas too and we're polite down here to the ladies) way... "Ma'am. What I'm legally doing on my own property with friends with a legal substance ain't none of your damn business. Now get off my property before I sick the dog on you. Thank you ma'am." I don't even have a dog... but I bet the lady would have thought twice before walking within sight of my place again.



Junior Member
Nov 12, 2013
Some people are so selfish and confident in their belief that they have the absolute authority to tell you what color you can paint your house that to not acquiesce to their royal countenance elicits rage.
And, somehow, its your fault that they are being challenged for telling you that you should obey them.



Preferred Member
Jan 31, 2011
Good story, Kashmir!
+1 :rofl:
She called us scum (as if child killers wasn't bad enough) and stormed off. I often think back to that day (especially when I read about similar confrontations on here) and wonder why non smokers are so mad and judgmental?
They’re brainwashed and hypnotized by the establishment media. Their beliefs and perceptions as to what is safe or dangerous, good or evil, true or false, important or unimportant, healthy or unhealthy, are downloaded into them, primarily from the images and voices on TV.
If they really cared about children, they would start asking better questions as to what is actually causing the modern epidemic of pediatric cancer and many other chronic diseases in children at rates that were unheard of until fairly recent times. It’s not tobacco.



Junior Member
Oct 19, 2013
As far as tobacco is concerned the "anti" crowd goes back to the first public smoking displays after it was brought from the americas to europe when the religious zealots thought those smoking where fire breathing heathen savage devil worshippers * yes look it up its there*. much like alcohol, guns, sex, various religions there will always be some special interest group bolstering hyperbole and false information to make the world what they want it to be. yes the act of smoking tobacco does carry negative risks to your health, but those risks are no greater then many socially acceptable aspects of our daily life in modern times. generally as a rule when confronted on the street a polite "why thank you sir/ma'am everyone one is entitled to their own opinion, but you have yourself a great day" is usually how i deal with that. in theological debates with friends or even strangers i bring out the big guns such as independent studies, case law and rulings, and pure modern science. usually i get my point across and they find themselves stunned that what they were told by the various cancer societies and mainstream media that garner the majority of there financing from the fact that smoking and tobacco is believed to be such an evil substance and what they think isnt exactly an accurate reality in relation to fact. as for beign serious hell man i aint got the patience to deal with zealots i got bigger worries in life then what someone else thinks



Preferred Member
Jul 29, 2013
I find myself more libertarian aligned and believe in freedom of choice. It is our choice to smoke and it is her choice to bitch about it. Fair enough, but she brought the ruckus to you. People like that, as you said as well, will generally be engaged in debate by myself. Now, I know walking in that it will go nowhere. They won't change my mind and I won't change theirs. My principle is you make your own choices about your body and I'll make mine without your input. Their principle is to believe they know what is best for others and they should do what they will to see it through.
The point of letting them know your opinion is to shove back against their intrusion into your day. It is best to have an informed opinion and to form a reasoned argument. But it is also advisable (I believe) to give them their own dose with a hefty helping of sarcasm and a dash of crass.
I'm all for being the "better man" but when someone frames their appeal to you like THAT, they deserve a not so kind reply.



Junior Member
Nov 3, 2013
I've never had strangers confront me about the smoking and I've smoked in public in a few different venues, cities, countries. The only people that have are family or close friends.



Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
I explain to people that observe that my smoking will kill me with, "Life itself is a terminal situation." Then I'd go over to her house and turn out the red light on her porch so her income would drop dramatically.



Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
I guess I've just been lucky. In all of the years that I've been puffing away I've only had one unpleasant experience. I was taking a break and was sitting out in front of my workplace in a "smoking permitted" area when a rather excited fellow advanced forward and started giving me a load of grief over my pipe. He demanded that I put it out. I pointed to the sign and suggested that he go elsewhere. The fellow then proceeded over to a security guard and began a loud harangue, pointing at me. I waved back, smiling pleasantly. The security guard politely suggested to the screamer that he might be happier somewhere else and that I was within my rights to smoke in a "smoking permitted" area. The guy went ballistic. It ended with two security guards escorting him off of the property.
Other than that, I generally get smiles from others, and have had many people compliment me on the fragrance of the smoke, or how cool a particular pipe is that I'm smoking.
Some people just have a need to be in control that goes beyond any form of rationality.



Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2013
@sablebrush, it makes me happy for some reason, to hear that the maniac was kicked off the property by security!
I'd also like to add, nearly all of the comments I receive from strangers are positive in nature! My wife and I recently got back from a weekend trip to Gatlinburg TN. While we were there I smoked my pipe the whole time. Several times, while walking down the street, I was complimented. I group of guys about my age (late 20's/ early 30's) came up to me and said it was "cool" that I was smoking a pipe. While I was in the Gatlin-Burlier B&M, there were two guys that came in for cigars while me and Richard from the Burlier were talking and smoking our pipes. They came over and watched us for a moment, then proceeded to tell us we were pros at pipe smoking, lol! We then started talking to them about pipes, which brought Ira (the owner) into the conversation, next thing you know, they were buying their first pipes and the tobacco to fill them with! Again while walking down the street, a family was walking towards me with a small boy at the father's side, when they got near me the father said "Look there son, that man's smoking a pipe! Isn't that neat?!" I got many looks while there, but I don't recall any of them being anything other than friendly or curious. That's generally the kind of reactions I get here in Tennessee, 95% of the time anyway.



Senior Member
Oct 10, 2013
Dublin, Ireland
I think she's a liberal.

So are lots of folks here.
Escoie, thanks for pointing that out. Not all liberals are interested in berating strangers in the street about their personal choices.
BUT that's a different issue. Thanks for posting your story, Sjb3. I've never experienced a confrontation with that level of vitriol from an anti-smoker but I think I'd struggle to keep my cool.



Sep 24, 2013
Waterford, Ct
I think she's a liberal.

So are lots of folks here.
Maybe you should differentiate between a Liberal and a Soapbox Liberal. It is one thing to have your beliefs and to live your life according to those beliefs. It is entirely another thing when you have your beliefs and think that everybody else who does not conform to your way of thinking is wrong and must be converted lest ye burn in the fires of Hell for eternity!!!! ( extreme sarcasm here ) I don't need to be saved by you or anybody with your "cause". Oh by the way, don't go away mad. Just go away.



Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
A few folks here seem to have internalized my comment.
Just take it for what it is, no need to parse it, expand on it or attempt to redefine it. I am not attributing her behavior to a larger group of people, nor am I assuming that this forum is a monoculture in any way shape or form.
It is what it is.

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