The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Haley’s Comments: Smokers and non-smokers

The other day, I received three pointedly dirty looks in the course of five minutes. One person met my eyes and shook their head. The second rolled their eyes and nodded in my direction to the person they were walking with while saying something I couldn’t hear. The third exaggerated a cough while staring me down.

When you’re a smoker, you learn to recognize the difference between a real cough and a fake one.

Why are smokers being treated as though they are committing some outlandish crime? There are vices out there that are more disruptive than cigarettes; it’s not like I’m stumbling around drunk or dressed as Lady Gaga.

The smoking ban is a good thing. Wisconsin’s smoking ban was just passed in July, and it’s worked out well. I actually can’t stand being in a smoke-filled room. It hurts my eyes, and I’d rather not spend all of my time in a smoke cloud. I think most would agree.

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And designated smoking areas make things easier for everyone. Smokers don’t have to worry about being rude, and everyone else can avoid them. And there’s usually an ashtray, therefore there is no littering.

Sometimes I try to smoke in an area in which a few people are already smoking, because when smokers travel in a herd, they don’t get as many ugly looks.

The rest of the time I walk to the section of campus that seems to receive the least amount of traffic. This section changes depending on the day of the week and the particular hour, but I think I’m getting a good system down. Most of the time, there’s a good couple of nooks around Phillips that don’t seem to have many people walking through. I’ll sneak there between classes.

But here’s the problem with non-smokers. One whiff of smoke is obviously not the end of the world, so why act as though it is?

It’s flat out rude to go out of your way to walk past me so you can catch my eye and pretend to cough. Really? You could have easily avoided walking through my smoke, and if you’d walked two feet that way would have probably not smelled it at all. I’m standing in what I had assumed to be a designated smoking spot, so where’s the problem?

It takes what, one second to walk past someone smoking a cigarette and another two or three seconds to walk past the smoke?

That’s not what the American Lung Association means by secondhand smoke. Being confined in an area in which there is smoke for an extended period of time – that’s how you run into secondhand smoke.

This isn’t a one-sided deal though. There is rudeness on both sides, and sometimes smokers do deserve dirty looks. Both non-smokers and smokers could use a lesson or two on etiquette.

Here’s the deal, smokers: smoking in a crowd of people is just rude. It is not too much trouble to step to the side so everybody else doesn’t get a face full of smoke.

And why is it so hard to obey “No Smoking” signs? Come on now; if you’re getting winded from walking a few extra steps to an area without such signage, maybe you should cut down.

There’s a responsibility that comes with being a smoker. Some smokers just aren’t holding up their end of the deal.

Neither side of the cigarette battle is entitled to anything, but there is something to be said for being polite. So let’s not behave like children by making faces and ignoring each other’s personal space.

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Haley’s Comments: Smokers and non-smokers