Response to smoking ban column

âÄúSecond hand smoke kills – we know that. So why hasn’t the University of Minnesota taken more progressive steps to protect its faculty, staff, and students who have made the intentional choice not to smoke?âÄù Where do I begin? First of all, lets note that neither the University nor the state of Minnesota allow smoking indoors. How close do you stand to the smokers (huddled freezing outside buildings) that you are worried about secondhand smoke outside? Nevertheless, even if we assume that outdoor secondhand smoke does have the potential to kill people; does that warrant a campus-wide ban? By that logic we should ban anything that has the remote potential to kill people. Guns for one must go, but yet there is no ban I know of that says people who are legally permitted to carry a gun âÄî as I am legally permitted to smoke âÄî are not allowed to do so on campus. Bullets do kill. There have been a number of campus shootings at schools around the country in the past few years. Students kill people. Perhaps we should have a ban on students. Cars killed over 41,000 people in the U.S. last year. Driving is the real killer. No more cars. Ride the bus? That probably kills more people than outdoor secondhand smoke too. And while weâÄôre talking about transportation, any fossil-fuel powered vehicle emits toxic gases that not only hurt our environment but can kill people! There are a number of us on campus who chooses not to drive. Should we be subjected to your lethal toxic fumes? The cooking of meat has been proven to release a number of toxins, including carcinogens! Yes, the very same chemicals that are at the center of every argument against smoking are released when cooking meat. I think all of the omnivores on campus owe the vegetarians an apology. No more meat. Obviously I am getting a little sarcastic here, but are my arguments really that outlandish? I charge anyone to find the statistics on any of these. I bet there are more reported casualties from any one of the killers I mentioned than from outdoor secondhand smoke. So letâÄôs ease up on the rhetoric. Smokers arenâÄôt out to get you with their secondhand smoke of death, and the University should not have to âÄúprotectâÄù you from them. I used to be a smoker. I never smoked when other people were near me. I would walk away, often into the rain, from a bus stop so that no one had to breathe my smoke. I wouldnâÄôt smoke in any area that people were already occupying, or would soon be occupying. I think most smokers realize that people donâÄôt want to be smoked on, and try to be courteous about it. Start enacting bans on some of the real killers first. Then we can talk. Until then: donâÄôt stand so close. YouâÄôll survive. Joseph McCarron University student