Through the haze

Smoking is our right

Jeff Fetzer | Guest columnist

The biggest issue with a smoking ban on campus is that it would make the lives of smokers on campus more difficult.
It would also interfere with everyone’s right to decide whether he or she can smoke when and where he or she wants. Banning smoking on campus is different than the smoking bans in restaurants or parks because people don’t have to spend a majority of their time there. But in the case of students and smoking, a ban makes it more of a hardship to go through the day with the inability to smoke.

Photo illustration by: Hunter Peterson

Photo illustration by: Hunter Peterson

Non-smokers who feel that the scent of smoke burdens their everyday life have the option of standing or walking in a different location. If we cannot smoke indoors or outdoors, then what becomes of the smoking population?
Let me make an analogy. Say the colors of our school made a couple people feel physically uncomfortable when they see them. Then the next day the campus makes a rule that no one can wear red or yellow. Would anyone think for a second that they had a right to place a ban on something like that? This is how the smokers feel.
Is it fair to discriminate against those students who smoke 10 feet from buildings, when all they are doing is following the rules? It would be different if we hung out right outside every door and blew smoke in everyone’s face. But in general, campus smokers have the courtesy to respect the lifestyles of the non-smokers.
Logically, you would assume that this would be reciprocated. If smoking isn’t banned, the campus should take the steps to fine those individuals who do not follow the standards for smoking in appropriate areas. This would eliminate people venturing too close to the 10-foot radius of no-smoking.
As a smoker I would feel victimized knowing that I follow those rules and I shouldn’t be punished for it. Banning something as simple as smoking on campus is just going to encourage those who do smoke to do it anyway because it’s a lifestyle choice that affects them in every aspect of their day and will only infuriate them.
It’s not as if smokers like myself don’t realize that smoking is bad, but why should anybody be able to tell someone else what they can and cannot do to themselves, when it doesn’t affect somebody else? According to studies, it is minimally harmful to non-smokers who stand three feet or closer to the smoke. But once again, that’s why there is a rule on campus where smoke can occur.  Although there are limitations to where you can and cannot smoke, proposing a ban on campus smoking entirely would only benefit the non-smoking population, and therefore being unfair to those who do smoke.  Would those who are in favor of the ban feel so self-righteous when the campus decides to ban something they like?

Keep your distance

Ann Hutchison | Guest columnist

I believe that a full out smoking ban is a great idea for Pittsburg State University. Smoking is a severely unhealthy habit but I understand that it is an individual’s own choice as to whether or not they want to damage their bodies. It is when their habits become detrimental to the rest of the campus that changes need to be made. The state law requiring smokers to be at least 10 feet away from all building entrances is a good start, but I believe that further measures are needed. If someone is smoking outside of a door, anyone leaving the building through that door walks right into a cloud of smoke.
I personally suffer from extreme asthma triggered by smoke, and I hate having to hold my breath while walking by someone smoking a cigarette. It is not only an inconvenience, it could cause serious damage to my lungs. Unfortunately, asthma sufferers are not the only ones that can be severely affected by second hand smoke.
Second hand smoke contains over 250 known chemical toxins. At least 50 of these have been proven to cause cancer in individuals exposed to them. In addition to the harmful components of second hand smoke, the number of people exposed to it is ridiculous. In the U.S., over 126 million non-smoking individuals are exposed to second hand smoke every year. You do the math; a lot of people are negatively affected by a decision they did not make. In addition to cancer, second hand smoke can cause heart disease and respiratory infections. On top of the negative health impacts of second hand smoke, it also smells bad and can set off simple things such as coughing fits.

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I believe that we should all be concerned with the health of our fellow classmates and faculty. One of the easiest ways to improve the health of our campus as a whole is to completely ban smoking on university property. This would dramatically reduce the amount of second hand smoke people are exposed to and improve the health of almost everyone on campus. For those smokers out there, I am sorry, but I would prefer to decide for myself whether or not I want smoke polluting my lungs. It’s fine that you want to smoke, but please, take it somewhere else so the rest of us can breathe a little easier.

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