Tobacc-off my rights


Students at Georgia Perimeter College’s Clarkston campus smoke in an area just across from the school cafeteria, Nov. 21, 2013.

Anti-tobacco bill supporters aren’t just blowing smoke.

ASWSU has proposed a bill that would ban tobacco use on the Pullman WSU campus.

I support Washington State University students’ right to sustain healthy lungs, hence I support this bill. 

Opponents of the bill may refer to their right to smoke tobacco, insisting what they do to their body is their own choice.

Firstly, I don’t wish to attack smokers themselves by voting for this bill. I only hope to help create a cleaner, more considerate environment for the entire campus community.  

Secondly, it must be made clear that there is no amendment that entails a citizen’s right to smoke anywhere they please, according to the Constitution, though the precedent is understood. 

In this light, the right to smoke wherever one wishes is more ideal than impunity, but so is respect. 

Why should a smoker’s right to smoke in a setting where others can be affected supersede the right of the nonsmoker to breathe smoke-free air?

Should moviegoers be subject to the bothersome talking of fellow moviegoers? Sure, their conversation may be private, but it still creates an uncomfortable environment for all surrounding individuals. 

In addition, should the talker’s right to speak during a movie be favored over the rights of all others in attendance? Wouldn’t they prefer the talker carry on their conversation elsewhere?

Tobacco users should very well be able to understand and relate to such an idea. 

This bill is not a breach of smokers’ rights. It is, though, an advancement of the rights of non-smokers to pursue a healthier, cleaner lifestyle.

Yes, smokers operate under the American standard of civil liberty. So do vehicle drivers, though. 

Still, they must follow laws that protect the safety and well-being of those around them despite the driver’s general right to drive. 

Honestly, I feel that in some way, all parties benefit from such legislation.

For instance, the university’s green efforts, such as those seen in the environmentally-friendly Compton Union Building, will be furthered by the enactment of such a bill. No tobacco smoke means less campus-originated emissions to the atmosphere. 

Nonsmokers will appreciate the bill for its protection of their respiratory system from lung cancer-causing smoke. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and cardiovascular disease among other illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Inclusively, it happens that smokers could appreciate the bill for the same reasons.

Though it might be a resoundingly unpopular point amongst those who choose to smoke, a bill banning tobacco means that all lungs are safe from tobacco smoke while on campus. 

Despite the absolute nature of the bill, it is not an endgame for smokers. Exercising one’s right to smoke at home or anywhere around campus as the law permits would still be perfectly permissible. 

I promote the freedoms of all campus dwellers, as I’m sure everyone on the ASWSU board does. 

With that, smokers may feel free to ingest harmful chemicals, but only as long as others are not forced to join them in the act. 

– Fletcher Bailey is a junior communication major from Seattle. He can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.