To the non-smoker, the various “smoke shacks” located around the Pierce campus are a nuisance. They smell dreadful, they secrete toxic fumes, they look downright tacky and they detract from an otherwise gorgeous college campus.
However, while the smoke shacks may not blatantly provide anything to the non-smoker, they certainly succeed in keeping secondhand smoke in a central area.
The shacks also provide a wonderful service for smokers who would like to take a cigarette break between classes.
Some smokers may not agree with being “exiled” to smoke in the smoke shacks. They might argue that smoking is legal and that they have a right to smoke whenever and wherever that they would like; that if they would like to have a smoke anywhere at school, then it should be well within their right.
By the same token, alcohol is also legal, and alcohol shouldn’t be consumed at a drinker’s leisure on public properties. Legally, alcohol must be enjoyed in specifically designated areas or at a private residence. Our campus smoke shacks are not unlike local public bars. Smoking is certainly legal, though there are regulations placed upon when and where one can smoke. Smokers are allowed to smoke if they so desire, but not at the expense of others.
I have no problem with smokers wanting to be smokers. However, I don’t believe that a non-smoker’s lungs should be at the mercy of a smoker choosing when and where they would like to light up.
Ideally, smoking wouldn’t produce effects hazardous to innocent bystanders, however, as this isn’t the case, both parties should be allowed equal rights.
It’s likely safe to assume that all Pierce students have passed one of these smoke shacks at least once. I walk past a smoke shack each morning and I’m literally forced to hold my breath, count to 10, and go the long way around the shacks every time that I pass them. I refuse to fill my lungs with a smoker’s secondhand smoke.
I have no problem with the fact that they want to have a smoke, but I won’t subject my body to their poison simply because it’s their right.
Because the smoke shacks aren’t fully enclosed they do not completely contain the secondhand smoke or the awful smoke smell. It’s even worse when there are multiple smokers inhabiting a single shack at any given time. The shacks could be redesigned and improved to minimize the escape of secondhand smoke.
The bottom line is that the smoke shacks cater to student’s rights and they serve the best interests of everyone. Those shacks are the result of an administrative compromise. Smokers have a private place to do their business and non-smokers can certainly choose to distance themselves if so desired.
Smoke shacks should be allowed to remain on campus. They are an attempt to sufficiently meet the needs of smokers and non-smokers alike, and I support the decision to provide them for the students at Pierce College.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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