03-22-2012, 03:04 AM
Smoking has been banned in Illinois in public places for about 6-8 years now, I think. I used to get asthma attacks really bad when I was younger, and I have to hold my breath when walking around campus. What bothers me is that we have designated smoking areas, which I know I need to avoid if I want to avoid the smoke, but the smokers never use the, instead choosing to smoke in the area labeled "This is a smoke-free zone. The designated area is 100 feet away." I understand that they want to be close enough to go inside, but they are breaking the rules. It gets to the point where I will take the long was around inside the buildings (most are connected) so I don't have to go outside. The smell of cigarette smoke literally makes me want to throw up, and I do mean literally; that's why I need to hold my breath walking past. Frankly, the blatant disregard on-campus smokers have for the designated areas makes me wish it were possible to crack down on and ban smoking altogether, but there is absolutely no feasible way to do that, especially when the rules are already being broken.
I remember back when the Illinois smoking ban was initially started, multiple articles showed up with stories of waitresses and bartenders who had contracted various forms of cancer due to second-hand smoke. As a nonsmoker, it is easy to feel that the conscious choices of other people to smoke in public is directly detrimental to my own well being. I don't care if you smoke in the privacy of your own home; just don't stand in every path I need to walk through (that was a general you by the way, not directed at any individual but rather those people that don't read the signs on campus). I get that smoking can be addictive, and may be social, but I don't see it as a thing I would want to put into my body, and when others smoke in public, I feel like they are taking that choice away from me. I am probably biased since my parents are both very anti-smoking, but I know my dad at least is much more worried about cigar smoke. Now, it's not to the point where I will confront a smoker or slyly try to make my discomfort known; I just walk quickly past them and try to hold my breath as long as I can, hopefully with the wind blowing the smoke away from me and not int my air passages. Do I disapprove of smoking? Yes, but only because I do not see the appeal at all. Like, I could understand WHY someone would smoke **** because of the psychogenic factor, but I'm pretty sure cigarettes lack that kind of pain-releaving power if nicotine has not already been introduced into the body. Once someone starts smoking, I understand that they may never be able to quit and that it may cause relief because of nicotine's addictive nature, but what I don't understand is why people start in the first place when they know the large number of risks and relatively small number of possible benefits that may or may not actually appear.
tl;dr: I support banning public smoking, but I also realize there is no realistic way to enforce such a ban.