Smoking rarely ever bothers anyone when they can’t smell the smoke. Out of smell, out of mind. It’s not our lungs inhaling the smoke. It’s the smokers’. They can do what they want to their own lungs. It’s not our business.
But what happens when we are forced to breathe their smoke? When smokers are sitting outside buildings we need to go into? Or outside of dorms without air conditioning?
Personally, I hate walking by people smoking outside of the Campus Center. Whether it’s students or faculty, it is irritating. I naturally cough because I have allergies to begin with. Then I start thinking about people with asthma, and I worry that if they had to walk through the cloud of smoke that I just did–they would end up in a coughing fit and they’d have to scramble to find their inhaler.
Besides smoking out-front of the Campus Center, some people smoke upwind of Queen Anne (QA). I hardly ever see anyone smoking near the building, and I thank them for trying to keep the smoke away but some end up standing upwind from the building. QA doesn’t have air conditioning so most of the windows are open 24/7 so it doesn’t feel like a sauna in there, and the smoke gets carried on the wind into open dorm windows. It is irritating having our dorm smell like cigarette smoke. It gives me headaches just thinking about it.
Our current policy in our student handbook is that smoking is prohibited inside any building, any state vehicle, and in all the areas of all residential facilities. The residential assistants at QA told us that you have to be at least 25 feet away, or up past the dumpsters.
I propose that we have smoking areas away from buildings. They don’t have to be too far away because then no one would use them and they shouldn’t be dark, ugly places either. They could have a bench or a little garden, and maybe a few of them would be covered so when it rains anyone can stay dry. If possible they should be downwind from buildings too.
I do not want to inconvenience smokers too badly but smoking near buildings forces people who don’t smoke to be around their second-hand smoke. Some people don’t mind, but some do. It’s our health that they are infringing on. I would never encourage anyone to smoke, but I won’t condemn people that do. They have their right to their own health, and so do I.