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Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Published April 19, 2024

Smoking on campus isn’t the only secondhand health problem


Before I begin, you guessed it — I smoke cigarettes. However, to every person that has written for a smoking ban on campus, I’m 99.9 percent sure you don’t smoke and have never smoked. Now it’s time to read this opinion from a person who has been on both ends of the spectrum.

Simply put, banning cigarettes on campus is the most ludicrous idea imaginable. Let me enlighten you.

First, smoking is unhealthy for everyone involved. I think anyone who is able to read the words that I am writing understands that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy, so enough of the obvious. What many people don’t understand is that the delicious combo meal they just bought from a block off campus is just as unhealthy. According to the Los Angeles Times, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and are at greater risk of getting, and dying of, cancer.

The Institute for Cancer Research estimates that about 20 percent of deaths in women and 14 percent of deaths in men could have been avoided if they had kept their weight in check. Obesity has always been on the rise and will continue to rise. Don’t believe me? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Don’t even get me started on adults.

I strongly believe that deaths due to obesity will soon exceed the amount of deaths due to smoking. For the people who are sitting there thinking, “But aren’t more people smoking these days as well?” Check again.

In 2010, Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services expressed that the amount of smokers fell from 22.7 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in 2008, while obesity rates rose from 14.5 percent to 26.7 percent over the same time period. Do yourself a favor — look around campus and ask yourself if you see more people smoking cigarettes or more people who are overweight or obese?

How does secondhand smoke compare to obesity?

I believe all students can agree that the most annoying thing that can happen in class is when a student unwraps a juicy burger or a foot-long sub. As the aroma of the food passes by each student’s nostrils, their stomachs begin to rumble until they think to themselves, “I got to get me some of that.” This must be the reason why the McDonalds line in Dinkytown is squished up to the entryway every time I walk by. Ultimately, this scenario leads to high-caloric foods having an indirect effect on the student body. I like to call it “secondhand smell.”

I have always found it interesting that our society believes it’s OK to offend smokers by publicly advertising the repulsive outcome if one is to continue smoking. You know exactly what I’m talking about — those commercials with the people pushing buttons in order to speak and the fathers who can’t play basketball with their children anymore. However, the moment someone brings up the word “obese” or “overweight,” a red flag is thrown, and the offensiveness is inevitable.

I hope you can realize the double standard that is evident within the correlation of obesity and smoking. If you don’t, start from the top, and read again.

The objective of this letter is not intended to offend anyone but rather to instill the notion that cigarettes are not the only hazardous product being consumed on campus. If the University of Minnesota is to ban cigarettes, then we must be inclined to ban all high-caloric products.

I wonder what would ensue if high-caloric foods were banned on campus?

It’s unimaginable, impossible, a blasphemy. Instead, how about I’ll have my cigarette and you have your Big Mac. Sounds reasonable to me.

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