COVID: Remember how we segregated smokers? It could be a lot worse for the unvaccinated

Anyone who is older than they care to admit remembers the time when smoking not only was expected, but welcome outside the small designated areas designed to corral and shame those within.

Smokers and non-smokers mingled easily in offices, hospitals and bars — wherever people tended to gather in clumps large and small. That all changed when science determined the hazardous chemicals within smoke withered the lungs of all who inhaled it.

Non-smokers insisted on social distancing from smokers, the kind requiring physical barriers.

For those too young to have ever boarded a plane divided into smoking and non-smoking sections — apparently airborne particulates could do what no 3-year-old could, stay in their area — you’ll soon experience what it was like as the vaccinated and non-vaccinated mix in greater numbers.

The divide between the two is already emerging.

How do we tell who isn’t vaccinated?

According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 62% said unvaccinated people should not be allowed to travel on airplanes. Furthermore, 55% believed that unvaccinated people should not exercise in public gyms, sit in movie theaters or attend concerts.

And 72% said it was important to know if people nearby (and certainly within six feet) were vaccinated.

When it came to avoiding those who could cause them potential ill, non-smokers had it much easier than the vaccinated will.

Vaccination cards, March 10, 2021, at Pleasant Pediatrics, 9980 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, Arizona.

Smokers self-identified the second they fired up an unfiltered Camel. Non-smokers could easily evacuate the infected area or, if they’d had a little too much to drink in the non-smoking section of the bar, grab the cigarette and stub it out in an overly exaggerated way.

But what are the vaccinated to do when, after restrictions are lifted, a person no more than 6 feet away sneezes, and into their hands rather than their elbow?

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