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The Jennifer Chronicles: Second Hand Smoke

vintage picture of child exposed to cigarette smoke
Photo via tomclen on Flickr | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | Shared via the Blogger Share Function

Pictures Tell Stories About Generations

So, why a Jennifer every day for a year? When you spend as much time on Flickr as I have over the last five years, you know why. Pictures don’t just tell stories. They confirm them.

I am interested in the story of my generation, Generation X, which by broadest definition includes those born between 1961 and 1981. Pictures of Jennifers from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s form a chronicle for all Gen Xers. They illustrate a factual account of important and historical events in our lives.

Like the picture above from 1967 of a little blonde Jennifer in Falling Waters on the Potomac River in West Virginia. Her mother is smoking a cigarette and it appears that she’s putting a beer bottle to her mouth. I don’t know if that’s a beer bottle, but it sure looks like one to me.

One of my best friends is plagued with a chronic cough. In the 25 years I’ve known her it has never gone away. She has never smoked, but her parents did. Her mother was a chain smoker and her father smoked cigars. Her exposure to second-hand smoke throughout her childhood has had a permanent effect on her health.

Generations and Exposure to Second-hand Smoke

Passive smoking is part of Generation X’s story. So are the actions of irresponsible parents. Are they the sole possession of Baby Boomers and Silents — those who raised Gen Xers? Unequivocally, no. So, the real story is that Generation X is the last generation exposed to second-hand smoke without the protective hand (and shadows) of public policy and political correctness.

Second-hand smoke gained momentum as a major health issue in the 1970s just as Generation X was arriving on the scene. It continued to be a major issue throughout our coming of age, and eventually public policies were put in place to protect people from second-hand smoke. The issue, however, remains largely unresolved since home is the last bastion of passive smoking.

smoking in front of children
Photo via tomclen on Flickr | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | Shared via the Blogger Share Function


Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. EmbarrTreasures

    I love the idea of this series! I will be following it with much interest.

  2. Andi Fisher

    This is going to be an awesome series! I still remember when there was smoking on planes it was awful. I can still remember how sick I was sitting in the aisle directly behind the smoking section on a flight to Europe – YUCK


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