Last year I tutored elementary school kids in Englewood. I had to take the CTA red line to 69th. The first time I went, I was frightened. I had heard so many stories from people that the south side of Chicago was dangerous. However once I got off the train and was looking for a bus, I found numerous friendly people to help guide me in the right direction. My next trips were not scary at all. I knew where I was going and found that the further south you go on the red line, does not necessarily mean more danger.

What I noticed more than anything was that the further south I went, the more people I saw who were openly smoking cigarettes on the train!

There are signs posted everywhere on the trains and buses that say no smoking. They even have a voice announcement that asks passengers to not smoke.

Despite the signs and announcements, I saw people smoking everyday I went to Englewood. Although most people would light up on the platform, there were several instances where people actually starting puffing on the train itself. I remember vividly, a man with three kids, puffing on a cigarette for about 5 stops! Not only is he subjecting other passengers to his second-hand smoke, but his children as well!

I can imagine that some people get confused on the platforms. They are outside waiting, so why not have a cigarette. But I can bet that all the people I saw smoking were living in Chicago and knew the rules.

Smoking has been banned on the CTA since…forever. Even if it wasn’t enforced long ago, it has been a priority since the January 1st, 2008 citywide smoking ban for all public places.

I asked several CTA workers why it is not enforced as much in certain areas of the city. One told me that it isn’t true. – Even though I witnessed it with my own eyes.

The other told me, once again, that the CTA had more pressing things to worry about than enforcing a tobacco ban.

My opinion: If you can’t wait until after your commute to smoke, you need to start thinking about changing your lifestyle.

READ THE SIGNS PEOPLE! RESPECT OTHER PASSENGERS!

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