Regarding the suggested campus-wide ban on smoking, I say: Finally!
This idea strikes me as the most practical, brilliant, and thought-out proposal in a long time, second only to the pedal-powered wheelchair. Yes, we could designate smoking areas and herd these “cool” misanthropes into them like the unwelcome element they are — then we won’t be exposed to even the briefest of smoke. But would we not still be haunted by the knowledge that, somewhere out of sight and smell, someone is doing something unhealthy and antisocial?
To the detractors that insist that a full ban would be paternalistic, pray consider the demographic: custodial staff and students from working-class backgrounds. Many times have I urged these self-destructive souls to pick up a more healthy extracurricular, like water polo or bridge, in vain. How can we expect these charges of Mother Yale to be productive members of society when they don’t know what’s good for them? And how can they, when their parents and peers never even heard of Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletter on healthy living?
To the charge of a “campus-wide” ban being impractical or even offensive, I say, the townsfolk who want to poison themselves within our sight can quit smoking — or find other streets to walk on. (I assume Yale owns most streets of New Haven, and if not, it should be first on our agenda.) Quitting smoking is not that hard! My great-uncle Rory was forced to quit his weekly cigar back in 1998, and is as jovial as ever. It truly is all about character and willpower.
No, the only flaw I see with this anti-smoking proposal is its timidity. We know obesity sweeps the nation, yet still we offer students their choice of food to eat. Yale men and women deserve to be told what is best for their bodies: it is the least this institution can do. Issues of individual well-being aside, anytime I see a fat person, my Ritalin-filled stomach roils in disgust. And, frankly, these 3 percent that heap fries on their plate are encouraging easily influenced freshmen to mimic these gross choices. I have seen students so full after a greasy dinner they lack energy to attend the many alcohol-filled events a Yale experience offers. How will they build up their alcohol tolerance? (As the man at UCS promised me, most of my future career will be spent sipping on champagne and looking enthusiastic.)
Disgusting habits have no place at an institution of Yale’s caliber, charged with designing and shepherding the mind as well as bodies of its flock.
Sabina Mehmedovic is a junior in Trumbull College.