Ask TSJ: Respect the Smoking Zone


LIFE IS HARD. It seems like every new day brings a new question that, try as you might, you’re just unable to find an answer for. The Smoking Jacket understands this, and we’re here to help. TSJ’s editor, Melissa Bull, and Headshots’ columnist, Mike Spry, set aside some time in their busy schedules to answer your questions in a feature we’ve cleverly named “Ask TSJ.”

This week’s incredible question comes from our friend Sarah from Duluth. And you know what they say about a friend in need is a friend indeed.

Dear TSJ,

Howzitgoin? Hope y’all are enjoying you’re summers. Quick question, but something I figured only Mike and Melissa could answer. I go for cigarette breaks at work in a common area open to all employees of the company I work for. Because I’m the only smoker from my department, none of the smokers know me. I tend to overhear stuff. Serious stuff. Weird stuff. Indictable stuff. My question is: Should I report what I’ve overheard, or do I respect the sanctity of the smokers den?

Thanks in advance,

Sarah H. from Duluth




Are you one of those oxymoronic uncool smokers? What’s up with that?

Here’s the story, morning glory: The smokers’ den is basically a confessional. What gets said to the smokers while located en masse in the aforementioned den-space is basically what’s said to other cool kids — one cool kid to ‘nother cool kid. (Like reject cool kids, sure, but still.)

It’s like a filter mine-field in there. I mean out there. Like there are cigarette filters and they’re are on the ground. So it’s dirty. And I mean “filter” like metaphorically too, probably mostly, so maybe people are talking more freely, cuz they feel they’re hanging with their crew, so they’re all emo and shit. You know?

Exceptions? Sure there are. THIS IS REAL LIFE! There are exceptions in real life, right my friend? Totes. So your mega exception to stooling on the smokers you’re eaves-dropping on: Violent crimes. That stuff is super sucky. You gotta put yourself on the line to keep your fellow humans safe. That’s the rule that trumps cool every time.


Here’s hoping your troubles are more in the John Hughes hijinks variety than the Tony Soprano kinda deal.






I’m torn here. I agree, on the one hand, that the smoker’s den is a sacred place where smoker-smoker confidentiality needs to be respected, also believe in tact and grace. Whomever is gabbing away, gossiping like 15-year-old boys in a 7-Eleven parking lot, needs to understand that certain conversations need to be had in whispers.

You want to trash your co-workers? Fine, but do it in a booth at Applebee’s and not on campus, you dig? This is the era of Big Brother, where everyone is watching. You have to be careful. Perhaps these people need to learn a lesson, and you are the teacher. Perhaps. Tough call. I’d wait until something egregious comes out, that affects you, then spill the proverbial beans. Save your bullets, chum.

Also, you’re the only one in your department who smokes? Shit. How do they get breaks? How do they get cancer? So many questions.



Got a question for Melissa and Mike? CLICK HERE and fire away. If we use it… your life will improve immediately.