So I got my haircut the other day by a smoking hairdresser. It was a heck of a haircut. Just check out my haircut before and after pictures. The only problem was that the lady cutting my hair was a smoker. She wasn't actively smoking, of course, but every time she moved her right hand in front of my face to cut my hair, I got a giant whiff of third hand cigarette smoke. A recent World Health Organization study reported that 600,000 people died in 2004 (1 of every 100 deaths) from exposure to second hand smoke. I can't even imagine how many more folks die every year from exposure to third hand smoke. So I'm sitting there getting my haircut from the hairdresser. Every time the hairdresser passed her hand in front of my face, I felt like I was going to have an asthma attack. After about five minutes of unbearable smoke stench, I started up a conversation.
Happy: Are you a smoker?
Smoking Hairdresser: Long pause. Low shameful voice. Yes.
Happy: I can smell it on your hands.
Smoking Hairdresser: I apologize. We've been really busy. Usually I have time to clean up after coming back inside from a smoke break but I was too busy this time.
Happy: Have you ever had anyone file a complaint against you because of your smoking and exposing your clientele to third hand smoke?
Smoking Hairdresser: No. I haven't.
Happy: I work in a hospital. So I smell that sticky smoke smell all day long. When I try to get rid of smoking smell in the hospital I usually put on a surgical mask. Do you have any here?
Smoking Hairdresser: No, we're fresh out.
Happy: I wouldn't be walking the walk if I didn't ask you, "Did you know smoking is bad for you?"
Smoking Hairdresser: I've heard that once or twice.
Happy: Just kidding. I know you know. It's just that most folks who come in here are nonsmokers and some have heart and lung conditions that could be set off with the smell of smoke. If you want to quit smoking, there are options available.
Smoking Hairdresser. I'm good. Thanks though.
Happy: It's probably a good idea that we stop having this conversation, since you're the one with the scissors in my scalp, right?
Smoking Hairdresser: Laughing.
I think I made my point loud and clear. I think most businesses would agree their employees should be free of smoke smell especially the ones that come into close contact with their paying customers. Hopefully, I mentally shocked this smoking hairdresser enough to make her think twice about smoking at work and not cleaning up again. Most of her clientele will be nonsmokers. The next time I go into this hair cutting joint I'm going to specifically ask for a nonsmoker. That's who will get my tip. I contemplated not giving this smoker a tip. In the end, I gave this smoker a tip because she was a good sport about the whole conversation. I thought about telling her not to spend it in cigarettes, but I didn't. I figured that was a lost cause. The next time, it's going to be a nonsmoker that gets my tip. As a nonsmoker in search of a haircut, what would you do if you were seated by a smoking hairdresser? Take the poll today.