While I understand Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent’s argument about a smoker’s right to choose the “calculated risk” to smoke, I feel that he has misunderstood the point of Nell Meosky’s op-ed. She does not call us to ban smoking from campus entirely, and her description of the risks of smoking is factually accurate. Rodriguez-Torrent’s attempts to legitimize the choice to smoke as a calculated risk akin to drinking, eating too many desserts, or spending a summer in Africa does not change the fact that those of us who choose not to smoke don’t want to be surrounded by the toxins emitted from the cigarettes of those who do.
I recognize the right of any individual to choose to smoke, and echo Meosky in thanking those smokers who pick out a secluded corner where no one else will be bothered by them. What I do not recognize is the right of smokers to light up around nonsmokers; it is your right to take that risk, but no one has the right to take that risk for me by choosing to smoke near me.
It’s great that Rodriguez-Torrent has made new friends by smoking, but hanging out with a group of smoking buddies just steps from the dining hall entrance to Morse, requiring that I walk through a literal cloud of smoke on my way to dinner is not merely inconsiderate; it can be dangerous for someone with asthma. Designating smoke-free areas is not denying the rights of smokers, but protecting the rights of nonsmokers to be free of secondhand smoke.
The writer is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.