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Fed up with the cancer sticks on campus

What is it with all the kids walking down the street smoking like chimneys all of a sudden?
Is this some kind of a seasonal thing?

It's certainly annoying enough to be walking along in the wake of one of these people. They are female as often as they are male, and you can see the evidence of their folly on their faces. I'll bet most of these people are 10 years younger than I am, and sleep twice as much per night as I do; yet they have the same bags or dark rings around their eyes, the same lines on their brows, as I have. I seldom exercise, either, save to mow the lawn every 10-14 days, and yet I'll bet I could match most of them for lung capacity, general cardiopulmonary health, and stamina.

In case somebody hasn't heard the news flash:
Smoking is bad for you. Carcinogens are just some of the many health hazards it carries.
Also, exposing other people to secondhand smoke outdoors, in an academic environment, is just antisocial. It's obnoxious at the least. If you feel such a need, clear a path for those of us who want to jog past you.

Edit, 15:50 CDT: For the record, I don't mean to say that people should not be allowed to smoke, or should feel guilty about doing so out in the open where it has a minimal effect on others. I have an opinion about the detrimental effects of cigarette smoke, but I would not impose my will in despite of anyone's sovereign rights as an individual. Rather, I'm saying: be considerate of people when they have to share your space, be it a room, a confined area, or a walkway. Furthermore, I am aware that there are many carcinogens other than those in cigarette smoke; I don't think it's hypocritical to make a public statement about what things I can affect, even minimally.

--
Banazir

Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
masteralida
Apr. 29th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
I've been noticing it more and more lately - but that could be that smokers tend to congregate just outside the door of places, so you have to wade through the thick cloud of smoke to get to where you want to be.

I'm allergic to it. And I really hate having to breathe it in, because it hurts for a while afterwards.
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC)
No fumar, por favor
I've been noticing it more and more lately - but that could be that smokers tend to congregate just outside the door of places, so you have to wade through the thick cloud of smoke to get to where you want to be.
Personally, I can hold my breath through a thick cloud of smoke. It's being stuck behind a fuming smokestack for a quarter mile, like an L.A. motorist, that I don't relish. I now make a point of jogging around them.

I'm allergic to it. And I really hate having to breathe it in, because it hurts for a while afterwards.
Oh, yes, I should have mentioned that for some, it does more harm than to those of us to which it is just an inconsiderate act and an irritant.

--
Banazir
auriam
Apr. 29th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, they know it's bad for them. They do it anyway, your high-horse moralizing notwithstanding. You're exposed to carcinogens from many sources; you're choosing to complain about smokers instead of other more important issues because they're an easy target.

I think your attitudes themselves are antisocial; if you choose to preach to your friends all the time about how healthy you are and how much more 'aware' your mindset is, that's obnoxious in itself as well.
auriam
Apr. 29th, 2006 08:30 pm (UTC)
And no, actually, I don't smoke cigarettes or other forms of tobacco. But I don't choose to bitch and moan about being 'exposed' to others' smoke for a few seconds every once in a while. It's just not that important. Moreover, it's one of those 'fashionable' things to complain about; something people do who are so convinced they're morally better than others that they can go around telling others what's right and wrong. I bet you're the type of person who also conspicuously glares at people with meat on their plates, or people who drive a less-efficient car.

How about 'judge not lest ye be judged'?
(Deleted comment)
auriam
Apr. 29th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
Re: How about "physician, heal thyself"?
Sure, you have the right to complain about someone doing something that negatively affects you. I do that all the time. But it just rubs me the wrong way to see people moralizing over small things and scapegoating particular 'target' classes and blaming the troubles of the world on them, like smokers or SUV drivers or jocks or pedophiles. There are some people who really believe that they can feel good about themselves by hating, and calling on others to hate, certain groups that are easy targets. People are so uneasy about their own righteousness that they have to go and look for evil in others to denounce to solidify their membership in the Good Guys group.

Anyway, sure, you can complain about whatever you want. But the scapegoating of smokers and other easy targets always annoys me. They do something because they're addicted to a drug, and they're stupid for having gotten that way. They shouldn't smoke their smoke where it can get into others' lungs. But there are so many things people do that hurt others. People sneeze in public, people talk loudly on cellphones, people pick their noses, spit on sidewalks, stick their gum on railings, toss their trash in the street... people are just obnoxious in general. Smokers are just one obnoxious group.

Spread the hate out a bit.
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
Let's actually look at those scapegoats, or, caveat fumor - part 1 of 2
First of all, please note: vis-a-vis "moral judgement", I draw a line between doing something that has a detrimental effect only on yourself and what has an immediate potential to hurt others. In the first case, go ahead; but in the second, some of the damage can be mitigated or avoided, so it should be. So, watch all the porn you want in the comfort of your own home, but don't do it on a school bus monitor (okay, that's an exaggerated example). Smoke outside, but let people by on the sidewalk if it's narrow.

As for guilt trips: Drive an SUV if you want, but be prepared to be bombarded with advertising for hybrids. If there's a market, what exactly is wrong with the ideology of "show people there's a better way"? For goodness' sake, we countenance odious, vitriolic, homophobic lectures from itinerant preachers here. We tolerate judgemental pro-lifers, or at least I see them on campus, recognize that they are permitted to be there, and walk past them without giving up my shortcut across the student union courtyard. To paraphrase Voltaire, then: I may disagree with what they say, but defending their right to say it is defending my own to hold the diametrically opposed viewpoint, one that I happen to think is correct.

But it just rubs me the wrong way to see people moralizing over small things and scapegoating particular 'target' classes and blaming the troubles of the world on them, like smokers or SUV drivers or jocks or pedophiles.
If I seemed to imply that I think all, or most, cancer comes from cigarette smoke, I'll say for the record that I don't. But it's one avoidable or mitigable source of cancer, so I would like not to be forcibly exposed to it. Am I going to castigate my neighbor for burning leaves in his front yard? No, so if your cigs hit me with a comparable amount of tar and other particles, no big. If I get 10 times as much in the same time period (say, one year), then I'd like the option of moving around you and skipping that exposure. My neighbor (thankfully) doesn't burn his leaves upwind and cover my yard in a haze.

What I'm saying is that it's not about singling out a group for me, but pointing out a particular behavior.

There are some people who really believe that they can feel good about themselves by hating, and calling on others to hate, certain groups that are easy targets. People are so uneasy about their own righteousness that they have to go and look for evil in others to denounce to solidify their membership in the Good Guys group.
I don't hate smokers, and I don't think they're evil. I'd tell my kids that it's a bad idea to smoke, and explain why, but that's about the extent of it. If my PSA "smoking is bad for you" offends you, please follow your own advice and find something more worth being offended about.

(continued)
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
Let's actually look at those scapegoats, or, caveat fumor - part 2 of 2
the scapegoating of smokers and other easy targets always annoys me. They do something because they're addicted to a drug, and they're stupid for having gotten that way. They shouldn't smoke their smoke where it can get into others' lungs.
Precisely. Look, it may surprise you to learn that I, who have never had marijuana in any form (save perhaps via secondhand smoke in our building), am for the legalization of marijuana. But I think that people who (say) beat up their friends and spouses and kids when under the influence are reprehensible and should be at least as responsible for their actions then as at any other time. IOW, caveat fumor (or something like that).

But there are so many things people do that hurt others. People sneeze in public, people talk loudly on cellphones, people pick their noses, spit on sidewalks, stick their gum on railings, toss their trash in the street...
I'm going to play the engineer card and say that I measure negative utility of such behavior in micromorts. Physical and mental harm come next. "First do no harm" in the Hippocratic sense; it works for me, anyway. So, show me who went mad from another's nosepicking or risked death or maiming from the Golden Sidewalk Loogie of Doom (which I actually saw and almost got hit with the other day, courtesy some other young guy), and I'll consider to what extent I may be overfocusing on smoking.

people are just obnoxious in general. Smokers are just one obnoxious group. Spread the hate out a bit.
Fair enough. Name some names while you're at it. ("Armchair preachers" is fair game, but as I said, know who you're criticizing first. I'm not saintly by a long, long shot, but I'm not the preacher you may think I am.)

--
Banazir
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
How about "physician, heal thyself"?
Listen to yourself for a second, Danny.
You don't know a thing about me if you think I preach about fuel efficiency, and for the record, I am an omnivore: I eat meat and I eschew all dietary exclusivity.

I justify my own choices when asked about them, or when I am polling people for their opinions, and if someone seeks my opinion on what they should drive, then I answer with an honest opinion. Of course, I have an opinion about things such as diets (for example, I think there are potential problems with and abuses of the Atkins diet and other low-carb diets), but I've never told anyone on a diet that they should get off it.

Now, let me ask you: where are you getting "moral judgement"? What's your vested interest? There's nothing wrong with my not wanting to incur a few tenths of a micromort when I don't need to; it's not an occupational hazard, it's actually significant given that I live in a very low-emissions area (i.e., it's not as anal or negligible as if I lived in NYC or LA), and I ask only that people move out of the way and not block others not wanting to follow in their wake, forcing them to inhale some secondhand smoke.

There's no fashion about it. I have felt this way since before people got elitist and snooty about it, and I will feel this way when people no longer are. Again, you should deign to ask or otherwise learn my stance before you pass summary judgement on it.

-Bill
auriam
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:09 pm (UTC)
Re: How about "physician, heal thyself"?
Sorry for the kneejerk reaction, but I have allergies to specific issues. You're not necessarily a demagogue of political correctness and New Age Health.
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
The right to be an asshole versus the obligation to be one
OK, for the record:

  • 1. It benefits me nothing to feel or seem "healthier than thou". However, I incur a utility loss for keeping silent: a small number of incremental micromorts thanks to the extra exposure to secondhand smoke, some of which I can avoid by asking others to be considerate.

  • 2. No, I don't think my post is going to make a difference by itself, since they are doing it right outside Nichols where we have to walk through the haze to get in or out of the building. But I have as much right to justify (and amplify) my awareness-raising as you have a right to be contrary just for the sake of it.

  • 3. There's a difference between people having a right to be obnoxious and being entitled to do it unchallenged by people they are harming. I couldn't care less whether they, you, or anyone else is convinced. I also have no interest in making outdoor smoking illegal or any other such absurd thing. But blow smoke in my face the whole length of the quad and I'm going to a) move past you and b) point out that you blew smoke in my face. That's my right.


BTW, where are you getting "preaching all the time"? Other than a post to statements, this is the first sentence I've uttered about smoking in 7 years on this campus. Next time, acquire a clue for yourself before you speak.

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
Not my point
I know. I'll readily acknowledge being a preacher when I'm actually doing it.
Asking for basic consideration isn't "preaching" in the derogatory sense, IMO.

--
Banazir
zerovector
Apr. 29th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
It's an age thing.

I smoked for a few years, but grew out of it when the important things in my life actually became important to me.
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
Fine, age
You're probably right, though there are plenty of 40-year-old facilities workers and groundskeepers who smoke, too. They just hang out by the ashtrays or trash bins and don't block the building entrances. I also don't see them hogging the sidewalks.

Perhaps consideration is a positive function of age, too?

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
Smoking and tanning
Actually, we had a secretary at UIUC who chain-smoked and tanned to an alarming shade of bronze every summer. I don't think one should be surprised that some such exposures take a toll. I have two colleagues who had melanomas removed in the past two years, and all they did (AFAIK) was bike and fish outdoors in the spring and summer.

--
Banazir
mrowe
Apr. 30th, 2006 06:02 am (UTC)
Re: Fine, age
Perhaps consideration is a positive function of age, too?

On the whole, imho, and with any number of positive (and negative) exceptions, I'd say 'yes'.
zengeneral
Apr. 29th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
my vote
I say we brush up against them and fart.

If I smelled like shit and lingered around campus, then people would ask me to leave. Sadly, I take the position that smoking is something that should be done at home and not in public. Afterall, if I did what I wanted to do in public, then I would be arrested.
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
Smoking in public: not all publics are created equal
I'm a severe pragmatist when it comes to smoking "in public": public places have different ventilation, and that's all that really matters.

If it was a choice between letting people smoke all they want to outside and banning it in zones such as classrooms, I say, take it outside. Heck, I'll even favor an outdoor pavilion built with taxpayer dollars (better that than a cage with a hood, which isn't good for the smokers, either).

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
Flats vs. single homes
That, again, is (to my mind) a distinction between "public" and "private". It may be a privately-owned building, but the hallways are public places. How far do we want to go with agitating for building policies that prohibit smoking on balconies? YMMV; if it really does waft in I might be bothered to attend a tenants' meeting or petition the superintendent or owner.

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
Entrances and bus stops
Well, that brings up the question of "confined space" and "ventilation". I would never be so paranoid as to say we should ever ban smoking outdoors. How long before people get hit with fines for burning leaves (which I'm sure is done in some backwards places), or God gets sued for forest fires? It's a small step to the absurd.

But as for bus stops and entrances: you bring up a good point, in that the haze is hard to avoid. I feel so sorry for smokers standing in the snow that I don't make an issue of it. Whether it's addiction, compulsion, or willing desire, I can have enough compassion to go around to the other entrance. If there is another entrance, that is.

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Apr. 30th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
You can lead a horse to water...
Just as one cannot legislate morality, one cannot legislate common sense, either. I think the best we can do at present is to regulate the production of tobacco as a crop, tax (and otherwise economically penalize) the use of its products, and educate and encourage.

Sometimes I think that incentives (e.g., savings, tax deductions for quitting or at least for materials used to quit) help smokers break the habit better than penalties. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and all that.

--
Banazir
onfeynyuan_shen
May. 2nd, 2006 06:12 am (UTC)
Re: You can lead a horse to water...
I think there are cases where it's not 'morally wrong' to do something, but people will stop because of concern for others ... ie, banning peanuts and peanutbutter where someone with deathly allergies may be... peanuts and peanutbutter are not evil, nor morally wrong... but for some people, it can be quite bad, and for their sake, some sort of compromise needs to be made... when consequences are severe for someone, even if that person is not ourselves, people need to have some consideration, I think.

I dunno. :/
mrs_dragon
Apr. 29th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, see this is why I love California. Smoking is banned in all restaurants, bars, and well, indoors at any public place. Smoking at my last university was banned within twenty feet of the building. Granted the smokers were closer than twenty feet typically, but it at least stopped them from huddling around the doors.

Just for the record, I have no problem with people smoking. I lived with a smoker for 3 years. But she would go outside to smoke and never forced me to sit in a smoke filled environment.
bojojoti
Apr. 30th, 2006 02:11 am (UTC)
One's own LJ is a very fitting place to voice a personal opinion.

I believe in freedom, and I don't like restrictions. However, I understand policy that promotes health issues and benefits the majority. I support smoking bans in enclosed places as a health issue.

I have asthma. Until our city banned smoking in restaurants, there were certain places I wouldn't eat because it wasn't worth respiratory distress. Now, happily, our city has a ban that prohibits smoking in restaurants, and I am able to join friends and family eating out.

As you say, it is often a matter of consideration. Non-smokers need to respect a smoker's desire to smoke. Smokers need to respect a non-smoker's desire to remain smoke-free.

deire
Apr. 30th, 2006 02:49 am (UTC)
Actually...
Evil is the word I would use for causing people so mch distress that they go short of breath and have chest pains for an hour or longer. And yes, asthma can do that.
banazir
Apr. 30th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
Intentionally? Yes.
I think the thing to do there is to have some kind of local ordinance (it can be institutional rather than municipal) that prohibits smoking in the doorway.

Clear the aisle, and give them to know why they're being asked to; it isn't just because some people have prissy sensibilities. Smoke means only watery eyes and a mild stink to the likes of me, but it's like a punch in the lungs to others.

Anyway, I think raising awareness is worth while on this score.

--
Banazir
(Anonymous)
Apr. 30th, 2006 05:32 am (UTC)
In Thailand I enjoyed a fag while waiting at the check in counter at the Ko Samui airport.

In Barca we only had hash, so couldn't fire up while waiting for our plane.

Personally, I'd rather cannabis rather than tobac anyday. I only smoke tobac as a [poor] substitute.

Namaste.
(Deleted comment)
banazir
May. 2nd, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)
Unfortunately...
I think you're right on all counts.

--
Banazir
murasaki_suki
May. 1st, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
Smokers can't read. They ignore the signs that say, "No smoking within 30 feet of this entrance." This is a sad reflection of our public highschools as well as an example of just how rude some people can be.
banazir
May. 2nd, 2006 04:37 am (UTC)
The inability to read versus the unwillingness
I think people generally overlook rules meant to make others' lives more comfortable at their expense, especially when they are easily flouted. Or perhaps that's just in the USA.

In any case, it's sort of as Barbarossa said of the Pirates' Code: "it's more of a guideline"...

--
Banazir
onfeynyuan_shen
May. 2nd, 2006 05:58 am (UTC)
on smoking and fairness
I'm allergic to tobacco smoke.

When I was younger, my parents both smoked, indoors, etc...
on nights when my parents had people over, when I was little, all the smoke would waft upstairs where we were sleeping - i could smell it, i would start filling up, and having a hard time breathing - unable to breathe through my nose, etc.

When i would come downstairs, and ask if anyone was smoking, I would be 'accused' of 'looking' for that, because i 'wanted to find it' for some ?moral justification? ... I assume that was guilt talking... for the record, most smokers don't realize how noticeable the smell is to everyone else (sense of smell decreases, etc)

Anyways, when they found out I was allergic, and they were told my pollyps etc in my nose that were making it hard for me to breathe would just get worse, unless they quit... well, eventually they sent me to get 'allergy shots' ... perhaps that was for the best...

Eventually, my Dad quit; 10 years later my mom did, once I'd moved out, and had already been diagnosed with things like 'exercise-induced asthma', which is likely related. Even not sitting in a 'smoking section' in a restaurant for my mom, when she was a smoker, was big issue - she would get deeply offended by the idea she wasn't 'allowed' to smoke inside, etc.

My mom is not a 'bad person', although I must admit some resentment. But I, for one, am glad that the balance has begun to shift the 'other way', that this attitude of 'entitlement' where some people can no longer do things that harm those around them without reproach. Personally, I try to strike a balance - I have good friends who smoke - I don't challenge them on everything, or every time they smoke - as long as they respect my need to have some smoke-free space and my own health... People just try to tolerate the faults of others, and limit their own faults, knowing others are doing the same with them; when people can mostly respect each others needs, people can mostly get along, usually...
pardon the anecdote...
m_G
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