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Ye Olde Hilltopics: The Great Smoking Debate

Apparently back in 2004, smoking was quite a divisive issue. Since it’s Thursday, let’s have a look at two different viewpoints on the issue from way back in October of 2004!


Viewpoint One:

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em
Smokers are already forced outdoors, isn’t that enough?

By Douglas Hill ’07

“I have made it a rule,” Mark Twain once said, “never to smoke more than one cigar at a time[…]. As an example to others, it has always been my practice never to smoke when asleep and never to refrain when awake.”

Twain understood that the way he cared for his own health was his choice. He understood that the luxuries in which he indulged were his choice. And he understood that smoking is really, really fun. So lay off the smokers.

My deepest apologies to anyone who falls down the steps of Dallas Hall, instantly dead from second-hand cancer, but I canʼt help but laugh a little at the passive aggressive zeal with which non-smokers assault smokers (“Do you mind, pretty please, smoking just a tad bit farther away from me? After all, youʼre killing us both.”).

Our smoking population has been consigned, in nearly every part of the United States (including many bars and nightclubs), to enjoy cigarettes outdoors. Okay, whatever; this seems like a reasonable compromise. My real beef is with the people who b**** about having to walk past a group of smokers standing outside of a building or people who ask their friends not to smoke in their own cars.

Furthermore, there are some places that simply shouldnʼt be non-smoking. Who wants to visit his favorite hole-in-the wall speakeasy and see a giant, non-smoking sign above the door? And a concert just isnʼt a concert without cigarettes. The health risks of tobacco are clear. Smoking causes mouth, throat, lung, and heart disease…in smokers. However, aside from the cases of family members of chain smokers, second-hand smoke is a nuisance, not a health risk. It may be an assault on your sense of smell, but I think miniskirts with Ugg boots are an assault on my sense of sight. Should SMU girls be forced out of my sight?

Itʼs time for all you anti-smoking crusaders to chill out, you guys won. There is no smoking in hospitals, schools, grocery stores, or shopping malls, but as winter comes, show some compassion. Let the shivering smokers peacefully enjoy their habit in the great (cold, windy, and rainy) outdoors.


Viewpoint Two:

The ettiquette of long-term suicide
Smokers can bring on their own death, but count me out.

By Gaines Greer ’05

If you want to invest in your own cancer and death, thatʼs your decision, but please donʼt drag me down into that bear market with you. I donʼt want to attack smokers for their smoking, and Iʼm not even going to order them to cease their repugnant huffing and puffing. Granted, I donʼt understand it and I certainly donʼt like it, but I recognize that a person has the right to smoke should he or she so please. All I ask is that smokers respect the decision of myself and countless others not to smoke, and therefore suppress their inner chimney until theyʼre away from those who seek to avoid its pollution . It seems like a fair deal to me.

If I were in a smoky club or bar, I couldnʼt justifiably curse the smokers because I would have willingly entered such an environment. For the record, however, I am thankful that lawmakers have seen beyond the petty whining of smokers who are embittered over recent smoking restrictions in bars, restaurants, and even outdoor events such as concerts. If the lack of oneʼs own, personal cloud of smog seriously detracts from his or her ability to enjoy a beer or a musical performance, then such smokers are even more pathetically dependent than I had previously imagined.

Although I can be relatively tolerant of situations like those above, my irritation becomes almost unmanageable when said smokers bring that atmosphere to the Hilltop and force me to walk through a haze of exhaled formaldehyde, ammonia, and tar in order to enter a building or walk to class. Worst of all are the people who smoke on the west bridge of Hughes-Trigg and drop their ashes down upon the people eating at the tables below. The stench is already bad enough; the least these smokers could do is keep my chicken
nuggets free of cancerous embers.

I scoured the entire SMU Student Code of Conduct to see if I could find some specific ammunition to use against you people, but aside from a restriction about campus housing, I found nothing I could use. The only weapon left in my arsenal, then, is simple common courtesy: wonʼt you please employ it the next time you light up? After all, youʼre killing us both.


Original Publication: 10/18/2004

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