December 2, 2020

Smoking Gun: Secondhand smoke ruins the beauty of our campus. Let’s keep Webster fresh

Ashley Westbrook is a senior journalism major and staff writer for The Journal

Walking into any building on the main campus of Webster University and you’ll be hit with a shroud of smoke. Yes, I’m talking about my chimney smoking friends on campus.
I know them, love them and despise them. Whenever I’m walking into Sverdrup coming from the library I see the lit cigarette and the puff of smoke coming from the left side of my vision and instantly I’m pissed. I take time out of my day to send them a friendly glare to kindly remind them that they aren’t welcome.
Why aren’t they welcome on my campus? Because I cannot breathe! As soon as I inhale I’m smacked in the chest with limited breathing and a storm cloud above my head to signify that I’m angry. Not only that but I love clean air. Ah, thinking about it right now makes me want to step outside for some kind of non-smoke smoke break.
Webster’s campus is not a smoke-free campus. All of the buildings are, but it forces the students in my class to brave the harsh cold winds or smoldering hot days of weather to puff away and relieve the stress with a cigarette. It doesn’t bother me that they must suffer for their habit, which is their addiction they can’t part with.
I remember being in Webster Hall on the fourth floor attending a night class and I needed to go to the bathroom. I walked in and headed to a stall to grab toilet paper for my nose.
The stall door closed behind me and two girls walked in. As I was raising the paper to my nose both girls started to complain about ‘people like me.’
One girl stated a ‘non-smoker’ in her class approved of Webster being a smoke-free campus and said it was about time. Another girl chuckled and said that if the non-smokers had a problem with it, they should “figure it out.” Then they decided to go back and forth and joke about the “complainers” who have a problem with their habits. One girl left saying that if she didn’t have her cigarettes she didn’t know how she would get through the day. Yeah, I waited until they left the bathroom in case they smelled ‘complainer’ on me and decided to maul me to make a point.
Fontbonne University and Washington University-St. Louis are smoke free campuses, which means you cannot smoke anywhere on campus. For a second I thought I found my Utopia. Then I remembered how much love I have for the Gorlok.
So I will continue to grumble on my way to class about the smokers on campus and wait until cigarettes cost a person their first born child and maybe then they will disappear. A piece of me doubts that will stop them. The thing that surprises me the most is that they think the cigarette smoke stays in one area and doesn’t gravitate or linger on them as they’re finished.
When I was in class one morning a girl I spoke with in class sat next to me in all her smoky glory and smiled. As I began wheezing I glared trying to figure out if she thought I was stupid. When I asked her if she smoked she said, “Yeah, but that was ages ago.” Instantly I thought, by ages do you mean five or fifteen minutes ago?
Saint Louis University is on the list with Webster as a school of outside smokers. I thought SLU students would worry more about being able to cross the street safely than about getting an afternoon cigarette.
I’d like to stand up for my fellow students who agree with me on this topic. Douglas Adams, an English writer, would say if we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.  But before we do take action, I will give my non-smoking friends some advice. Cough. Cough. Wave. Then glare.

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