Smokers need to respect non-smokers

Karena Ozier, Columnist

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When I go to the store or to a restaurant with my friends and family, I do not want to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke before I enter the building. I can understand that it is not the easiest thing to stop smoking, but there should be an understanding between the people who smoke and the people who do not.

I realize that people will continue to smoke, but if the people who do smoke can be more observant of their surroundings and know that smoking right by a door is not doing anyone any good, then we can avoid others getting exposed to as much secondhand smoke.

If you smoke by a door, you are not doing anyone a favor. Everyone who breathes in the smoke that comes from a lit cigarette in your hand is being exposed to harmful chemicals that are contained within the cigarette. Not smoking at all would be the best choice for everyone involved, but unfortunately even 100 commercials about the danger of smoking will not stop every smoker.

The understanding between smokers and non-smokers should be that when someone is walking past or closely nearby, smokers should not blow smoke in a non-smoker’s direction. As someone who does not smoke, I hold my breath while I walk past and try to avoid walking by those people who smoke outside of buildings, but sometimes there is not an option to get around them or the wind carries the smoke over to you anyway.

I feel as though I should not be compelled to hold my breath while I am outside. I should be getting fresh air, not inhaling smoke.

Not only is the smell of smoke unpleasant, but so is the fact that cigarette smoke is known to cause health problems. The choice that someone makes when they start smoking is up to them. They signed up for the health problems, and they accepted that. People like me, who do not smoke but are exposed to secondhand smoke, did not choose that.

I know what smoking can do. I have lost family members because of the health problems that are associated with smoking cigarettes. I should not have to be exposed to cigarette smoke, nor should anyone else.

If people who smoke can at least understand that people who do not smoke choose not to do that for a reason and respect that, then secondhand smoke should not be as relevant in public, and going outside for fresh air will actually involve fresh air.

Karena Ozier is a freshman elementary education major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].