I’m getting tired of being right. Several semesters ago I saw it coming. I wrote on this opinion page “smokers need to wake up and fight for their freedoms.” I began to hear the rumors, which led to committees, and then surveys, which are just sample ballots. Then eventually students were forced to vote on whether Missouri Western State University would be a smoke-free campus. Most students did the right thing and voted to keep our campus free, so we can all enjoy privileges that should have never been challenged in the first place.
Then I predicted that after the vote “they” (the smoke Nazis) would not let it be the final vote. I predicted they would beat the topic to death till they get their way. Now, again, I’m hearing a rumor. They are planning some sort of action. They are acting like a bunch of spoiled children who think if they keep asking to get their way the answer will somehow change. No means no.
There are no smoking problems on this campus. There are, however, some behavior problems with some smokers. Western’s administration needs to make some changes and campus police need to enforce the rules we have that already address these behavioral issues. Smokers need to keep their butts in the ashtrays and their smoke to themselves.
Allow me to propose some ways to solve this issue and try to make everyone happy. I propose that all ashtrays need to be removed from doorways and non-smoking areas. Designated smoking areas need to be better identified. Students wishing to smoke should go to those well-identified areas and stand there to smoke. If a smoker is outside of Downs Drive circle then they are allowed to have free smoking privileges, but when inside the circle smokers need to share the space responsibly with other students who do not smoke.
It is not difficult. Put your cigarette out before leaving your car. When inside the Downs Drive circle, smoking is only allowed in designated areas and only while you are standing in those areas.
We have to come to some compromises, which allow smokers the privilege while keeping non-smoking areas absolutely smoke-free. It can be done with the help of administration, campus police and smokers.
Another great reason to compromise — if they get their way on this issue, they will soon come after fatty foods on campus. There could be a ban on vending machines with their sugary drinks and high-carb snacks.
To endorse a healthier lifestyle, we would have to disassociate ourselves with The Chocolate Factory and there goes those bagels everyone gets in line for.
Don’t be fooled. They aren’t really interested in your health. If they were they would be talking about a ban on sex. Sexually transmitted disease is the number one health issue on campus. There is a reason the Esry Student Health Services hands out free condoms at the front counter. You will notice they don’t serve nicotine gum.
These are just people who believe that it is OK to force their will on someone else and limit the behavior and privileges of others. Don’t let them get away with it. Keep our campus free!