On the table at Residential Housing Association meetings sits the possible notion that smokers will not be allowed to smoke on Marletto’s patio. While the policy already in place prohibits smoking within 30 feet of Marletto’s entrances, there are no visible signs for smokers to obey. Fueled by customer complaints, the new policy will prevent people from smoking on Marletto’s patio at all.
Let me make one thing clear: I am not a smoker. I may have the occasional cigarette, but I only whip out my Paul Mall Blues in social situations. (See? Paul Mall Blues are my preference. I am definitely not a smoker.) I don’t “jones,” if you will. I don’t take a cigarette break when I study nor do I crave one after a meal. That said, I understand the smoker culture. The majority of my friends smoke and I often find myself eager to take a break with them when they step outside to feed their addictions, but that’s because taking five minutes outside is never a bad idea.
I’m empathetic to their plight, but I couldn’t be further from it. I’d even go so far as to say I think it’s kind of gross. When I’m in the house of a smoker, the noxious stench sticks to my hair, my clothes and makes me sneeze. I’m an asthmatic swimmer, and there is no greater enemy than that of the Camel Crush variety. But, I don’t believe smokers should be exiled.
I wholly understand banning smoking on the Marletto’s patio. Last year, the notion of a smoke-free campus would’ve had me first in line at the ballot box. I felt I couldn’t escape the noxious stench and the horrors of what I knew smoke could potentially do to my skin and lungs.
Since last year, I’ve learned to sit upwind or roll down my windows. Granted, I’m no longer rooming with a smoker, nor am I dating one. I don’t come into contact with cigarette smoke nearly as much, but it does bother me less. I understand that others affected by cigarette smoke can’t just “get used to it,” but before exiling smokers, we should explore other possibilities. Customers smelling smoke inside could sit farther from the door. And smokers could work to be more considerate and not smoke in close proximity to the entrance.
Smoking is a large part of Webster’s culture. So, exiling smokers because someone complained seems like a drastic next step. Maybe a separate patio will be a sensible solution further in this process, but for now, this problem won’t just burn out.