Smoking madder

By Darcy Padula

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: “Smoking mad,” July 22, 2004

This article makes a few good points in certain respects, but also comes off as more of a slanderous rant aimed at a group of people whose goal is to better the health of the university community by reducing the risk that things such as second-hand smoke can prove to non-smokers.

First off I personally do question the fact that most of this is being done in summer much in the same way as Mr. Li does. Taking the “we know what’s best for you, so you don’t get a say in it” approach is never good especially when we live in such a diverse community as the University of Calgary. This issue should be presented to the entire student body and not snuck in when most are unaware of what is occurring at their university.

However, as I was reading thr- ough this article many things struck me as somewhat illogical in the argument made by Mr. Li.

First off, what coincidence that a committee of people who wish to live and learn in a smoke free atmosphere would not be composed of those who hold it so dear. Honestly, that is like expecting members of the Communist Party to be composed of at least some right wing zealots. I fail to see his point on this issue.

In response to Students’ Union Vice President Mr. Alex Vyskocil and his comment: “this seems like a group of non-smokers telling people not to smoke,” What a concept! Just like those non-heroin addicts who have the audacity to demand that the immediate area they live in be heroin free. Maybe it is more like a bunch of non-smokers telling smokers to not smoke around them. Personally I am not to interested in spending $5,000 a year to live and work in an area where I may be exposed to harmful carcinogens. Who is? Except those who breath them in every day and swear by it?

Mr. Li uses the statistic that doing this during the summer would result in 10-40 percent of smokers not being on campus. Just as many if not more non-smokers who may have a very strong opinion on this also are not here, so I fail to see his point.

Personally, I would rather that our university was not an ashtray for these smokers rather than some other community, but nevertheless maybe Mr. Li should be less concerned for those students who wander the streets drunk looking for a cigarette, than the majority of students who have to wander around drunk looking for a smoke free environment in which to buy/drink more alcohol. Here is a reasonable solution: Buy cigarettes when you can tell the difference between oncoming traffic and no oncoming traffic.

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