Opinion

Smokers’ rights: No ifs, ands or butts about it

Since when is it the university’s responsibility to coddle the delicate sensibilities of its students? As a nonsmoker, I understand the motivation to ban smoking from campus. It smells, it creates litter and that puffy white cloud triggers asthmatic symptoms for some. But last I checked, smoking cigarettes is still legal. Yes, we are on privately-owned grounds and yes, the university can essentially make any rules it wants but that doesn’t mean it should

Wake up, fellow nonsmokers. You will eventually leave these hallowed halls and be forced to work and interact with people who smoke. I was appalled by the number of people in the Hurricane’s recent poll who supported the regulation of smoking on campus. If smoke irritates you, walk away.

For those who crusade on the basis of the negative health effects on nonsmokers, those effects are largely myths. Studies on secondhand smoke are typically conducted on subjects who have spent most of their lives in close quarters with smokers, and even those results are inconclusive. The fact is, you can safely spend up to 20 to 30 minutes per day breathing secondhand smoke without suffering any consequences. Walking from class to class, I typically breathe secondhand smoke for maybe 10 seconds per week. I’m not a doctor, but I think you’ll be OK.

Moreover, the university hasn’t outlawed any of the other smelly things people do. Like fart. Or wear too much perfume. And I get stuck in elevators with those people. At least smokers don’t light up in elevators.

Smokers, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook- remember to be courteous. Unicco is not your mother, and even she probably wouldn’t pick up your butts. Don’t smoke in closed areas or anywhere else that smoke is likely to get trapped. If you made your habit invisible, there would be no campaign to criminalize it.

Kelly Fitzpatrick is a senior majoring in English and print journalism. She may be contacted at kfitzpatrick@themiamihurricane.com.

November 17, 2010

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Kelly Fitzpatrick


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