Clear the Haze: A Call for a Smoke Free Campus

By Emily Pizza

Walking outside the library every day after my work shift I take a deep breath and half-sprint down the stairs towards my dorm, hoping that if I walk quick enough, the stench of cigarettes won’t cling to my clothing.

I, along with many other students, cannot stand the amount of smoking that goes on in public areas we have to walk through, especially on such a small campus. It seems like wherever we turn, a puff of smoke makes our eyes water and throat burn. While I don’t have the power to get smokers to stop, the administration has the ability to help.

Our collegiate neighbor, Western Michigan Univeristy, declared that as of September 1, 2014, its campus will be entirely tobacco-free. The only place to smoke would be personal-owned vehicles.

And it’s about time.

It is a pretty well-known fact that second-hand smoking kills, but how about the statistic that secondhand smoke exposure causes an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States.  Or how about the fact that secondhand smoke exposure causes an estimated 3,400 deaths from lung cancer annually in the United States.

I think we can all agree that these statistics are concerning, especially for the well-being of the students on campus.

We spend our nights and early mornings working our butts off to get a degree so we can get a job and change the world, so why would we put ourselves in an environment where our lives could be cut short?

Our campus is small enough that if people really wanted to smoke, a few minutes of walking could get them to a smoking area. If spending hundreds of dollars a year for cigarettes is worth it for smokers, I’m sure a few minutes of walking isn’t that big of a deal.

How can we stand by as we allow the future congressmen, doctors, engineers, and social justice activists to have their body forcibly pumped with carcinogens?

It’s about time that we challenge the norm that smoking is something that we all have to deal with. It’s about time that those who choose not to coat their lungs in tar are not subjected to the same side effects smokers are.

It’s time for a non-smoking revolution.

 

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