I recently received a letter about my Sept. 25 editorial, “Smokers foul the air near entrances. I was happy to see that the University community not only takes the time to read The TORCH, but also finds it motivating enough to send in a response. However, I find it appalling that a professor in the University has such a nonchalant attitude toward human rights. Every person on this campus (and in the rest of the world) has the right to breathe fresh, clean air. Each person is different and the foul fumes of cigarette smoke affect each of us differently. Some people may tolerate smoke while others could be incredibly sensitive to it. One does not necessarily need to have asthma to go into a coughing fit after breathing in smoke, even for a nanosecond.
My editorial was not meant to get anyone to stop smoking, and the St. John’s administration does not forbid anyone from such a thing either. I was simply trying to address the fact that there are rules and regulations in this center of higher learning that need to be followed in order for everyone to have a pleasant experience. We should all respect our fellow students and faculty by not exposing them against their will to something that in the long run will be detrimental to their health.
Why can we not act like civilized people and take our addictive habits away from those that do not wish to be a part of them? We are all mature enough to realize the consequences of our actions and if we cannot care enough about our own well-being, we should at least be respectful to others to not blow the smoke into their faces while they peacefully try to enter a building!
Smoking became very popular about 40 years ago when the addictive nature of nicotine was not well known, but never have smokers been treated as criminals. Even in restaurants and other public places there are smoking areas and nonsmoking areas so that both parties are treated fairly. And in everyone’s interest, including smokers, science has come up with an array of methods to help those people that are trying to break free from the grasp of nicotine.
The reality of the situation is that we have a duty as co-inhabitants of our environment. We should consider the wishes of others and follow the rules that are there for a purpose (not just to fill the pages). Moreover, the faculty and staff of St. John’s should set an example in themselves and follow the rules to the letter, because it is our educators that we look to for guidance and support.