Jan 302006
Authors: Megan Schulz

Every day throughout the past couple of weeks, I have flipped to my favorite section of the newspaper, RamTalk. Recently, I have enjoyed the quarreling between smokers and nonsmokers. In a nutshell, the arguments go something like this: people who don't smoke hate smokers and think their behavior is unacceptable. On the other hand, smokers want to go about their business and rudely remind the nonsmokers to shut up.

Smokers, it's time that you were told to shut up. Your arguments are weak and your habit is considered filthy by the rest of the general public, yet you still demand that you should be allowed to smoke however you see fit. I've heard the argument many times, blah blah blah, it's my body I can do whatever I want with it. That's all fine and dandy, but you aren't going to find many people who will support you and your habit.

We all have our addictions. I happen to enjoy shopping. Fortunately, my addiction affects only me and my bank account. Unless you've been living under a carton of cigarettes, you know that Fort Collins has a smoking ordinance that prohibits smoking in most buildings and within 20 feet of passageways of these facilities. There's a reason for this. Luckily our City Council has done their part to protect public health. If that's considered cramping the smokers' style, then it's a small price to pay.

I'm going to say something that may come as a shock to some of you. These days, it's undeniable that smokers are considered social outcasts. We now live in a somewhat health conscious society that doesn't accept smoking as the norm anymore. We are aware of the dangers of smoking; after all, they are printed right on the pack. No one can blame ignorance for their health problems. Everyone is educated about cigarettes.

Colorado is especially renowned as a health conscious, "laid back" state. Voters of Denver passed an initiative legalizing small amounts of marijuana for private adult use. When was the last time you heard of a law passed to give more rights to tobacco smokers? This act alone lets you know the public's priority. Apparently, many of us would rather be privately stoned than satisfy a nicotine craving.

Regarding health, I don't condone cigarette or marijuana use. Economically, I find it unbelievable that people, especially college students, can still bring themselves to slap down the $3 plus it costs to buy a pack of cigarettes. In my opinion, marijuana users don't get off the hook either.

If you're so rich that you can afford $50 worth of pot a week, then I'm jealous that you have that kind of money to waste. But if you're broke and you still get high, then that's just sad. What are you doing in college if you can't correctly determine the necessity of pot versus rent?

As young adults, we can't deny that many of us are driven by looks and instant gratification. But if you want to smoke that pack right now, just realize that you're not going to look great in 15 years. Beyond that, the health risks are irrefutable. Cancer alone scares the hell out of me.

I have to be honest. By writing this column, I'm being selfish. I'm attacking smokers because I hate the smell of pot and tobacco. There are plenty of other nasty habits I could dedicate my life to condemning, but I don't have the time or the energy. That doesn't excuse my behavior, but this day in age, nothing excuses the behavior of smokers.

Megan Schulz is a sophomore technical journalism major. Her column runs every Tuesday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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