Walking in the clouds... of smoke

Manners; we’ve all heard of them and some of us even practice them on a regular basis. I know they still exist because I’ve seen them on campus.

I’ve witnessed Eastern Michigan University students holding open the door for other students and helping someone pick up spilled textbooks in the hallway. But there is one common courtesy I have never seen practiced; cigarette smoke blown away from fellow students instead of being blown in their face.

This is by far the most disgusting thing I see on a regular basis. I’ll be walking to class and someone in front of me will exhale a huge cloud of smoke that heads right for my face. Then there are the angels who park themselves outside of the EMU Student Center or Pray-Harrold and flick buds on the ground as I’m walking towards the door. It’s disgusting.

I understand everyone has the right to make their own decisions, and that includes making the choice to fill one’s lungs with toxic gases and tar. But I never made that choice. So why is it always in my face? Why am I forced to hold my breath as I exit Pray-Harrold to avoid choking?

Last year EMU tried to please everybody by passing a campus ordinance stating smokers had to stay 25 feet away from building entrances. That’s a good idea, in theory. The execution of it, though, has failed — miserably.

I’m still waiting for the day when I see a smoker exit Pray-Harrold and actually count 25 feet away from the doors before he or she lights up. It’s usually 25 millimeters.

Stepping away from the damaging side effects to our health, let’s look at the image this puts on EMU. Who really wants to tour a college and see 10 or 20 students standing outside of every building smoking? What about all of those cigarette butts littering the sidewalk? That’s not the type of first impression I would want to make on a potential freshman.

I understand the “rule makers” of campus have a hard time making new rules without upsetting large chunks of the student body. But I would think there have been times when they have had to lay down the law regardless of the students’ reactions. This could be one of those times if they really wanted it to be.

The powers that be at EMU could decide to pass a stricter smoking rule, or do away with smoking on campus all together. Or they could choose to actually enforce the rule they already put into place. Any of those choices I would strongly support.

They just have to do something. Or, mark my words — I will personally stamp out the cigarette belonging to the next student who blows smoke in my face when I leave Pray-Harrold.


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