Non-Smokers Against a Smoke Free Campus

Non-Smokers Against a Smoke Free Campus  – Radford University
(Article from December, 2010)
Written by: Kate Houser

            If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s walking to class and getting caught behind someone smoking a cigarette. The best part is that it always seems like they’re walking as if they’re on the moon at about the speed of a turtle. With their cigarette fitted perfectly between their middle and index finger, it rests ever so slightly at their side, with the occasional trip to their mouth for a brief fix. This, of course, is perfect for non-smokers like me, because not only do I get to inhale their smoke after they puff, but also while it’s just hanging there at their side burning on its own. This better contributes to the amount of secondhand smoke I get to inhale while walking a few steps behind them the same rate, unable to move around.

My walk to class proceeds to become almost like a game between the smoker and I. Realizing I’ve inhaled enough smoke and it’s time for me to move around, I step to the right and speed up a little in hopes of passing in front of them. Then, of course, at that exact moment they move a little to the right, unnoticing that they are blocking me from moving around and ruining any attempts at me advancing beyond the cloud of smoke. I fall back and exert an ever so brief and lady like “cough…cough….” They must realize this and so they fall back a little to the left and I continue with my trip to class. All you non-smokers would be surprised at how often we have to deal with the battle of the sidewalks with the smokers, but it’s a custom I’ve adapted too.  

As much as I don’t enjoy these little run-ins, I put up with them because smoking cigarettes is legal for pretty much everyone on this campus (this is me assuming there aren’t too many 15-year-old college students here).  I have friends who smoke, relative who smoke, even roommates who smoke; and it only bothers me if their secondhand smoke gets in my way. Even though it bothers me having to constantly fight clouds of smoke walking to class, I still wouldn’t want to take that freedom away from my fellow students.

 Recently, there have been rumors floating around campus about a new proposal to ban the smoking of cigarettes on Radford University’s campus. This ban would include both students and faculty. My question for you is as follows: would you selfishly enjoy the ability to breath in fresh air all the time, or would you put up with the small clouds of smoke that fill the air as you pass by a fellow student smoking a cig, just because you know it’s not fair to take that right from them?

I wouldn’t want someone telling me I couldn’t do something just because they didn’t want to. Yeah, the smoke bothers me, but I would feel like a total wet rag to support something like a smoke free campus. Just because I don’t smoke, doesn’t mean that other people don’t. Radford has already taken away drinking on campus even if you’re 21. Now they’re trying to take away smoking? I can’t imagine eating dinner at Dalton Dining Hall and having to watch one of my friends run across the street to dark side just to smoke a cig. It seems a little ridiculous to me, so in the meantime I’m going to continue to participate in my sidewalk wars with the smokers, and enjoy the company of my smoker friends on campus. Hey, I might even provide the lighter.


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