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Column on smoking misinformed

Letters to the Editor

Ken Craymer

Issue date: 12/4/09 Section: Opinion
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Tiffany Oliver's column, "Discriminating against smokers again" (Nov. 20), was deeply concerning. She suggests that university employees are the only people who care whether or not people smoke, but subsequently goes on to say that the students also exhibit disgusted reactions to smokers. Obviously, neither the students nor employees are happy with the smokers, which is why they have been given designated areas in which to smoke. There is no reason why students should have to confront smokers who smoke outside of the DSA. In the event of a confrontation, it is unlikely that a smoker, who is already violating the law, will feel inclined to move unless there is some legal authority associated with the request.
Oliver also suggests that these policies discriminate against smokers, but the truth is everyone has the right to breathe fresh air. Allowing people to smoke wherever they please violates that right. Oliver suggests that secondhand smoke is a "tolerable temporary inconvenience," but there is no reason why smokers should be allowed to inconvenience the rest of society. The DSAs are designed such that people who choose to smoke may do so without harming everyone else.
Finally, the comparison between smoking and automobiles is unwarranted and simply untrue. Modern vehicles, such as those operated by the university, are exceptionally clean machines. Exhaust gas passes through a catalytic converter which nearly completes the ideal hydrocarbon combustion reaction. That means that the only thing coming out of the tailpipe in any measurable quantity is carbon dioxide and water. The visible "smoke" that is emitted is actually steam. Cigarettes have no such environmental controls. Burning tobacco gives off an unpleasant smell and releases toxic chemicals that lead to cancer, emphysema, and a host of other potentially deadly health problems.
While many smokers do make an effort to smoke only in DSAs, there are a few who seem to think they have the right to inconvenience all other members of the campus community. They are the root of the problem, because without them, security would never have to leave a car running to issue a smoking citation and could instead focus on more pressing issues.
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    lifetime smoker

    posted 12/06/09 @ 12:58 PM EST

    So do people have the right to stop cars on Euclid and ask them to turn of their engines, because exhaust fumes pollute the air? Should 18 wheelers be banned from traveling on city roads? Should we get rid of the greenie system because it pollutes campus air? Should university vehicles be allowed to park and drive on campus walkways? If students don't care enough to ask people to move, they probably just don't care. (Continued…)

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    marlboro man

    posted 12/06/09 @ 1:00 PM EST

    Hahahahaha you seriously think smokers don't mind moving to the outskirts of campus to smoke? Wow you are ignorant. Don't talk about things you don't know about. (Continued…)

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