For Smoke Free

March 22, 2011 § 3 Comments

Hi, Eric,

I enjoyed your presentation at the staff council meeting yesterday.

As an AU employee with asthma, I would personally appreciate a
smoke-free campus. (I work off campus and would like to see the policy
in effect here, as well.)

Buffer zones and designated smoking areas don’t address the fact that
smoke can stay on a person’s clothing and hair and trail behind the
smoker into the workplace. I think many smokers don’t notice this and
may not realize that even this can be a problem for others. I would
think that banning smoking from the campus environment would be the only
practical way to protect those who don’t wish to be involuntarily
subjected to other people’s smoke.

Thank you for your work on this initiative.

-AU Employee

Why do a few seem to feel they know what is best for everyone?

March 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sir,

I do understand your concerns about smoking, I know I have quit numerous times but I have also started back. I am not stupid to the facts of smoking I am very aware of the effects of smoking. This is a choice people make, we do not need people to “educate us” on this matter. I do smoke in an area away from buildings or people as to not to bother anyone. And lets not talk about us leaving campus during our lunch hours, the parking situation for employees is another subject all together. Evidently you have a strong feelings toward people who smoke and the effects of smoking.

But we are not bad people, you do not know us or what goes on in our daily lives. But yet, you wish to regulate how we spend our free time at work.

For you to judge us or to single out one group of people is wrong. We are no different than others on campus that I encounter everyday with so much perfume or cologne on that I cannot take a breath. Everyday we are bombarded with the fumes and sounds of weed eaters, mowers etc..do we just quit doing landscaping work? This list could go on and on, the fact is we are all different.

I do feel that regardless if I smoked or not that if this is done it will be wrong! and it also worries me what will be next!!

Why do a few seem to feel they know what is best for everyone?

-AU Employee

Smokers Have Rights

March 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Smokers have rights, too. If I choose to smoke, knowing all the facts, that should be my choice. I smoke outside, in the open air, and people have the option to take an alternate route.

If we are going to ban one thing, we should ban all things that have an adverse affect on anyone passing. Most perfumes and colognes affect my breathing. Some even cause my throat to close, but I am expected to “suck it up”, smile, and do my job with someone standing two feet from my face reeking of perfume, cologne, or the acrid smells that accompany some of our students. Many times the unwashed smell is very strong. May I say to that person “You need to go home, take a bath, and return later”.

We all know that fast foods and junk food cause many health problems. Are we going to have ALL vending machines and the fast food, or unhealthy dining places, removed from campus? I assume this is on the agenda because none of us are capable of making these decisions for ourselves.

That brings me to another topic. Bicycles, skateboards, and golf carts; I am reasonably sure these forms of transportation are not supposed to be on our pedestrian walkways. My co-workers have been forced off the sidewalks many times by people using the sidewalks as a street. Is this being addressed by your committee? Probably not.

I hope you will keep in mind the freedom of CHOICE when approaching this matter.
-AU Employee

Against Smoke Free

March 7, 2011 § 3 Comments

Dear Mr. Smith,
I read the article in the latest Plainsman regarding the movement apparently headed by you to make the Auburn University campus entirely smoke-free. Congratulations; I am sure you will succeed, simply because smokers are outnumbered by non-smokers and there seems to be no shortage of hysterical anti-smokers who feel that they are doing us smokers a favor by making it difficult if not impossible to smoke. But first of all, please clear up some confusion… it is not clear to me if the reasoning behind this is because of the dangers of second hand smoke or does it have to do with “helping” smokers? If it is the latter, then please go away, I don’t want your help… I will decide if and when I will stop smoking; it is really none of your business in a free society. Smoking is legal. So is over-eating. As far as I’m concerned, democracy, in this particular case, is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for lunch. And if liberty is a well-armed sheep… then think of me as a sheep armed with facts. In the article, you asked non-smokers to educate themselves about the hazards of second hand smoke. So, maybe you could enlighten me as to the evidence showing that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) outdoors is harmful. And while you’re at it, instead of quoting the tired old line about the number of harmful compounds in ETS, please provide the actual doses of each so that people won’t be misled into thinking that there is something uniquely dangerous about cigarette smoke (as compared to wood fires or auto emissions for instance). When discussing toxicity, it’s always all about the dose. So this becomes a fallacious argument when one considers the quantities of the compounds released from cigarettes when compared to the amounts a person is normally exposed to or ingests. For example, it would take 70 trillion cigarettes to produce the amount of benzene from one year’s worth of auto emissions in California (benzene is, by several orders of magnitude, the most concentrated of the toxins in cigarette smoke). By the way, 70 trillion cigarettes is equivalent to 9.5 billion “pack-a-day” smokers (about twice the earth’s population). So, if you want to ban smoking outside on campus, then you ABSOLUTELY must also, in good faith, ban automobiles, which produce ridiculous amounts of pollutants compared to cigarettes.
I am aware of the arguments made by those who wish to see smoking totally banned even in wide open outdoor areas. The largest study in the U.S. (a meta-analysis) was the flawed and biased study by the EPA in 1993 (basically junk science) in which second hand smoke is treated differently and with a lower threshold than any other environmental toxin ever tested by the EPA. This study had to re-define universally accepted methods of statistical analysis to “prove” a weak association. On the other hand, a much more legitimate scientific study sponsored by the World Health Organization showed no statistically significant correlation between environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and lung cancer (the only statistically significant finding of that study was a mildly positive effect on children of smokers, i.e. less incidence of lung cancer). Not surprisingly, WHO did not want the results of this study publicized, since it obviously did not confirm what they wanted to show. So you don’t hear much about it. And keep in mind that these studies were concerned with exposure to indoor ETS.
It seems to me that this whole argument boils down to the fact that anti-smokers find the smell of smoke unpleasant and are repulsed by smokers, seeing them as weak people who need rescuing from themselves. So it’s OK to fudge the data to get the result they want. I agree that ETS is unpleasant (even I don’t want to smell smoke while I am trying to eat). Therefore, as a considerate person, I always smoke as far away from entrances to buildings and other people as I can. I have no problem at all with buffer zones, but I suspect that is not going to be good enough for some people… even though there is no evidence to support that outdoor ETS causes actual harm to innocent bystanders or passers-by. Interestingly, people that pass by me outside usually don’t realize that I am smoking… maybe their sense of smell is overwhelmed by exhaust fumes. This is a university, so I understand that politically correctness sometimes outweighs facts. But it would be nice to show some believable scientific data and logical arguments to back up an all-out ban, other than a “report” from the surgeon general (which is merely an opinion). I challenge you to provide proof that ETS from people smoking outdoors is a health hazard to others. Being offended by the smell of smoke does not qualify… I am offended by the smell of some perfumes, diesel exhaust fumes, public restrooms (sometimes), and the body odor of some people. As for me, I will not comply with a ban on smoking on campus, and I suspect that I will not be alone. I have been smoking a long time and have tried unsuccessfully to quit, so force isn’t going to work with me. Besides, I don’t bother anyone and I have always gone out of my way to make sure that I don’t. The reality is that a ban on smoking outdoors on this campus will simply create a new, angry class of “outlaws”.
Sincerely,
AU Employee

A Smoker’s Response

March 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

First of all I am a Senior at Auburn in the College of Engineering. In addition to that, I am an active tax payer, an active member in the Auburn family and community, a musician, a brother, a son and to many a friend. I try to live my life by the Golden Rule, do to others as you would have others do to you. Now, I like to smoke tobacco. I find that it helps ease the stress of a heavy course load and also after a cigarette, I am able to derive the patience and serenity to put up with unjust things in the world outside of my control. Among all those things I have told you about myself, I am sure that there is something you found out about me that perhaps you see in yourself. With that being said, am I so different than you that I cant so much as inhabit the same classroom with you, or be around small children if my clothes smell like cigarettes? I found that comment horribly offensive. Also, are we such second class citizens that our apparent ignorance and self interest is deserving of your pity? A resounding no! Despite what many of you seem to believe, we do know the effects of smoking on ourselves and others and we do not need your blatantly obvious reinstatement that “smoking is bad and if only someone would tell smokers that they cant do it anymore then they would quit and in doing so we’d pay the national debt, end the war in Iraq, and shit lollipops for the rest of our lives.” In closing, if this is to be a fair debate to both sides involved we have to abandon the idea that banning smoking is the “right” side and that we smokers must overturn the current agenda if we wish to keep our freedoms. Finally remember that “Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.

-AU Student

Response from a Smoker

February 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

As a smoker, I feel the need to respond to your comments in the Plainsman article concerning a smoking ban on campus. I believe that by banning smoking anywhere on campus you are not, to use your own words, attempting to “protect the rights of a majority, not punish a minority.” Protecting the rights of the majority would see smoking banned within 25 feet of building entrances, as is done in many cities throughout the country. Banning smoking outright would absolutely punish smokers. I agree that people deserve to be able to avoid second hand smoke. I understand that many people consider cigarette smoke to be disgusting. I, like many other smokers, do not light up a cigarette when walking through a crowded part of campus. I make a conscious decision to respect the rights of other people. Unfortunately, banning smoking will be a conscious effort to infringe upon my rights. What you are calling for is the banning of an action which is in no way illegal.

These days there is no smoker who is unaware of the health risks. I chose to begin smoking, and therefore I find it highly offensive that people belive they are “doing me a favor” by banning smoking. Not all smokers are slaves to nicotine addiction who desperately want to quit. Should one decide to quit, there are many smoking cessation programs which are well advertised and readily available.

I hope that this email presents you with a somewhat rational view of what I believe should be done about smoking on campus.

Sincerely,

-AU Student

All for Smoke-Free!

February 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

I just wanted to express my opinion on the possible campus smoking ban. I am ALL for this! As an Auburn student, I get so frustrated having to hold my breath multiple times while walking from one class to another or from class to my car. I am also allergic to cigarette smoke, even just the smell of it gives me some breathing problems. It would be so nice not to have to worry about this walking to my classes. Even just making people move a certain distance away from the building would help. It is extremely frustrating walking out of a building and having to walk through a cloud of smoke because someone is standing right outside the door. I am a Human Sciences major and experience this issue everyday when walking in and out of Spidle Hall. People stand right outside one of the entrances to the building and smoke. As a result, everytime someone opens the door to come in or go out, the smoke/smell enters the building. I think that providing a program to smokers to hel pthem quit is a great idea. Second hand smoke is so dangerous and it would be so nice to be able to walk around on our beautiful campus without having to worry about it.

Thank you,
-AU Student

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