My thanks to Harsha Panduranga for offering welcome dissent toward the University’s proposed smoke-free campus (Keep smoking on camous, 09/10/2009). Although I do not agree with all of his arguments, I must heartily second the idea that personal choice forms an important and rather neglected aspect of this discussion. As a non-smoker, I am admittedly annoyed by breathing secondhand smoke. But smoking remains a legal activity and a choice, and I feel that freedom of choice is much more important than my own personal convenience will ever be. Besides, the choice is twofold: smokers can choose to smoke and I can simply walk elsewhere.

One point not mentioned by Mr. Panduranga which deserves attention is that, so far as I am aware, the University did little to consult with students until after the decision to eliminate smoking on campus was already reached. The University’s website is patently unhelpful. A committee whose stated aims include “seeking input from students, staff, and faculty through dialogue and surveys” does not appear concerned with dialogue over the plan itself but only with easing its implementation. I, for one, would have wished for open, honest debate of this policy before any action was taken. My thanks again to Mr. Panduranga for his column.

Ethan Menchinger
Rackham graduate student

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