A voice for smokers

Kraig Dafoe

Apparently, the smoking students and faculty of Washburn University are not as important as non-smokers in the eyes of policy makers.

The new smoking policy of campus is the beginning of a slippery slope, which leads to smoking’s total banishment on campus, thus violating the basic rights of smokers. Unlike the state and federal laws banning smoking inside most public and private businesses, this policy is locally conceived for Washburn University.

The idea behind limited smoking areas is supposed to be a movement to keep the campus cleaner as many complaints of cigarette butts littering the property have been lodged. While I can stand behind this ideal, that of a cleaner campus, I am not convinced the new policy will accomplish this task.

With the newness of the policy, we may see change in its beginning stages. However, as time wears on and the policy gets older, we may see an increase in campus litter. Consider visitors that arrive to campus unaware of the policy, smokers approaching a building with no place to lay their butts. It is my opinion the hedges and flowerbeds will see an increase in butt storage.

Aside from a cleaner campus, we have to consider the rights and feelings of smokers. It’s bad enough for someone with an addiction to be forced outside to accommodate their cravings, but now they cannot even huddle under cover during inclement weather. Instead, they have to go to a designated area with no cover or go without.

You might think going without a cigarette for an hour or two should be easy enough, but with some smokers, that is just not the case. If you take away alcohol away from alcoholics, they get shakes and that affects them. If you take nicotine away from smokers, they suffer irritability, headaches and various other symptoms. Irritability is the worst because their anger is generally released on whomever happens to be around them at the time. It is a problem, no doubt, but one that exists and is hard to overcome.

I agree that non-smokers should not have to put up with smoke, but in an outdoor environment, smoke emitted by cigarettes is no more harmful to a non-smoker than any other pollutant being dispersed by automobiles and factories.

I am all for a cleaner, healthier campus, but I do not think targeting smokers in such an extreme fashion is the way to go.