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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Guest Commentary

Students should give cigarettes the butt


Suddenly your lungs have been blackened as your immune system tries to expel the toxins, forcing you to cough. You failed to notice that fellow Cougar in front of you holding a cigarette. Better luck next time.

The US Surgeon General, the nation’s leading spokesperson on public health, has continuously reported that there is absolutely no level of safe exposure to secondhand smoke.

It has been classified as a known human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer — a branch of the World Health Organization.

Secondhand smoke contains a minimum of 172 toxic substances, including three regulated outdoor air pollutants, 33 hazardous air pollutants, 47 chemicals restricted as hazardous waste and 67 known carcinogens.

Every day we make an effort to limit our exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays by wearing protective clothing and sun block. When we have our X-rays taken, we wear lead jackets to prevent the radiation from permeating our bodies. Numerous workers have sued companies for exposing them to asbestos which resulted in a plethora of health problems not limited to cancer.

If we express such ardent concern when our health is threatened in these situations, then why don’t we make the same effort to protect ourselves from carcinogenic secondhand smoke?

Oddly, the large majority of nonsmokers feel as if smokers posses the unalienable right to smoke wherever they wish, regardless of the fact they are indirectly jeopardizing the health of their fellow students, faculty and staff.

Every time someone inhales the toxic substances inside cigarettes that consist of, but are not limited to, rat poison, pesticides and carbon monoxide, their heart suffers immediate harmful effects and their risk of lung cancer increases.

The UH smoking policy which prohibits smoking within a 25-foot radius of any building entrance has proven impractical and ineffective.

Are police expected to patrol the premises with measuring tape to discover those who may have forgotten that they were standing too closely to the building?

Aren’t ashtrays conveniently located just five feet from the entrances of buildings?

Many Coogs, willing to submit themselves to hazardous consequences, have suggested designated smoking areas on campus. This resolution will only concentrate the toxic substances, and the US Surgeon General has reiterated countless times that there is no level of exposure to secondhand smoke that is safe.

Let’s be realistic. Laws limiting smoking will never effectively address this issue as would completely eliminating it.

Furthermore, making UH a smoke-free campus will assist UH students who are battling nicotine addictions and inevitably improve their health.

It would also decrease the amount of toxins their loved ones are exposed to. Exposure to some of the toxins can cause ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma in children.

Another benefit is that smokers would save thousands of dollars that could be put toward tuition and fees.

Furthermore, by making UH a smoke-free campus we would be advancing the GreenUH agenda.

Let’s do this the easy way and make UH smoke-free. It’s time that we exercise our right to life.

If UH wishes to maintain its Tier One status, it must join the other 500 universities in our nation that are entirely smoke-free.

By making our campus smoke-free we can prove that at UH we genuinely care about the well-being of our students, faculty and staff.

Josie Ceasar is a biology sophomore and a NSM Senator for the UH Student Government. Association.

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