Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Smoke Freely

The Broadside had an opinion piece this week that advocated more non-smoking zones on campus. I sent the editor a reply:

Dear Editor,

I do not smoke. Like Lindsay Wolcott who wrote to you on December 5th, I find it disgusting. There is also no doubt that cigarettes are harmful to your health. Everyone knows this; most anti-smoking ads are pointless because they merely repeat this well-known fact.

Yet teens continue to smoke. Why? Imagine James Dean, the ultimate cool guy. He’s a rebel and when you’re young, being a rebel is cool. Dean smoked because authoritarian figures didn’t want him to just as such figures don’t want teenagers to smoke today. That makes smoking cool.

Not enough people understand this concept so pro-banners cite passive smoking health risks to push their cause. It would surprise few that second-hand smoking is dangerous, but there is a real difference between a child living with a pack-a-day mom and a person passing a few smokers on the street. The first could do real harm, the second likely wouldn’t do anything.

It is already shameful that we treat smokers as second-class citizens by telling them to leave large open spaces (like the JC dining area) and stand out in the cold. Pushing that boundary further so you don’t have to walk through “clouds of smoke” is inconsiderate laziness. If Ms. Wolcott is truly so concerned about her health, she can hold her breathe for the few seconds it takes to pass smokers. If, as she implies, this is truly not an option then I strongly recommend she gets her lungs checked.

David Youngberg
First Year Graduate Student, Economics

Making rules about how people should live their lives a free society does not make.

1 comment:

Ginny said...

The same exact thing is happening at my college campus. It's ridiculous. I don't smoke either, but I know if I want to stay out of "clouds of smoke" it really isn't that difficult. My student newspaper has been banging the drum on this whole thing