To the Daily:

As debate on the campus-wide smoking ban heats up, Daily columnists Alex Biles and Robert Soave have added to the discussion (Dear President Coleman…, 03/25/2010, Coleman’s smoking gun, 04/06/2010). Soave has questioned President Mary Sue Coleman’s allegiance to Johnson & Johnson, among other corporations. I would like to take the time to tell you why I fully support the smoking ban.

Soave and Biles have ignored the fact that smoking is terrible for everyone involved. As a student going into the health care field, I see the burden smoking puts on society and health care facilities on a daily basis. The Environmental Protection Agency published a report in 2008 outlining the burden smoking places on society, citing 440,000 preventable deaths and $150 billion in health care costs annually.

Some people, including Biles and the College Libertarians, have also argued that the ban is an infringement on personal rights, stating they have the “right” to smoke. I would argue that they have no right to make me inhale second hand smoke, thus putting me at risk for health related problems later in life. The EPA and Centers for Disease Control have said that second hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, including ammonia and carbon monoxide, a poison to the human body. Second hand smoke has also been classified as a carcinogen, or cancer causing agent, since 1992.

As a non-smoking student, I continually am upset by walking into a bar (a public place) or simply down the sidewalk and being engulfed by someone’s second hand smoke. Second hand smoke causes coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort and reduced lung function in non smokers, not to mention the need for a shower. It’s one thing if you want to smoke the cancer stick on your own, it’s another if you make me. So the next time you’re walking on campus and you get a whiff of smoke, think of Coleman and the policies protecting students living a healthy lifestyle.

A.J. Humes
Nursing senior

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