By Jack Hill
First off, let me say I have no issues with smoking or smokers. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a personal choice, and one you have a right to. What I do have an issue with, though, is being trapped behind a smoker when we both have to go to the same place. Or when they carelessly allow the smoke to be trapped indoors by standing too close to the door. Or when they’re inconsiderate of the rights of non-smokers. Of course, not every smoker is an inconsiderate jerk, but those who are taint the reputation of all smokers and blacken the lungs of non-smokers.
I remember walking across campus with a friend, behind a smoker, complaining about how I thought it was unfair that I was forced to breathe in the smoke. The smoker—ever-so-kindly—glanced back and blew his mouth-full of smoke. And he was completely within his rights, as per college policy, to do so. There are no designated smoking areas, when there should be.
The reality is most people who choose not to smoke do not want to smell it. Like the smokers, us non-smokers are forced to go to the same classes, yet if we’re trapped behind a smoker while we’re on our way—well, tough luck. Their smoke wafts back to us, the noxious fumes filling our unwilling lungs. We’re forced to tolerate it. To point it out would bring rude remarks, yet them smoking across campus is somehow completely acceptable.
One of the few policies the school has concerning smoking is asking people to stand 25 feet away from a building, yet rarely a day goes by when I don’t smell Marlboros circulating through the Air Conditioning. The fact of the matter is that the policy is rarely enforced.
The issue remains that non-smokers are subjected to becoming second-hand smokers, despite not taking up the habit ourselves. The school needs to designate smoking areas—which can be frequent and their implantation unobtrusive—to protect both the right of smokers to smoke the right of non-smokers to abstain.