LETTER: Freedom from smoke

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.

Stephanie Cruz

Oct. 18

The writer is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.


  • MsMoneypenny

    Walking along the street with buses, trucks going by constantly is not much healthier. Maybe nonsmokers might want to avoid those venues too. It’s not enough that smoking has been banned in every indoor space, now the anti-smoking zealots want to take the battle outside?

    I’m a former smoker, by the way. But not ever going to begrudge others who want to smoke outside. Any more than I’d demand that bus and truck traffic cease. There’s pollution everywhere.

  • ethanjrt

    I had thought that the first line of my op-ed made very clear what I was addressing. Just so we’re all on the same page here: we don’t disagree on the basic idea of consideration for others, nor do I disagree with the main thrust of Meosky’s Monday op-ed. What I was addressing was the attitude that clearly underlies the beginning of her article, and the perception by most Yalies of the choice to smoke.
    Hope that clears things up.

  • mikemorgan

    Colleges, either public or private, should be able to decide on the use of legal tobacco products on their own property. It’s just when big government gets involved in these matters that I have a problem. Electronic cigarettes are increasingly popular, as long as used by adults. I’ve tried several brands to avoid odor, save money and enjoy almost anywhere, so see http://www.ecigwerks.blogspot.com for more.

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