Whatever words you choose to describe what you may feel about smoking in the United States you must agree that smoking is an issue of division in American society.
Some people say that dying from tobacco usage is America’s punishment for bringing white and black slaves to this country for the sake of growing tobacco. Now, nearly two hundred years later we have ridden ourselves of the cursed evil institution of slavery, but have become slaves ourselves to the dreaded tobacco companies while they make the profits. Companies like The China National Tobacco (the wealthiest tobacco company in the world), British American Tobacco, J.R. Reynolds and the Phillip Morris Company all dominate America’s economy.
Soon tobacco usage at CCBC will come to an end. It’s kind of sad, don’t you think? Gone will be the names of our generation like Salem (no, not the witch trials) and Marlboro. Too bad he didn’t live to see this day. Gone will also be those late students trying to pull that last drag, sucking stronger than a Hoover Deluxe, in order to sense the exhilarating feeling of nicotine and 499 other unknown drugs coursing through their veins in the five minutes it takes to make our student, now ten minutes late for class.
Gone will be smoke trails that wisp through the hallways, stairs, and restrooms informing us all that the American Cancer Association might not have as much business in the future. But who am I kidding? If there is a way to shorten a promising young life, leave it to a young person find it.
Last year according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that smoking directly contributed to 443,000 deaths. The CDC went on to say that of 49,400 of those deaths came from second hand smoke; 3,400 people died from lung cancer and another 46,000 perished from heart disease.
To put this in some kind of human perspective for students; to equal these numbers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine, would have to return from the dead and commit their unfathomable crimes 350,000 more times to equal what tobacco does every year. Or, they would have to kill thirteen young people every day till the year 350,011 A.D. Ridiculous, huh? But, true.
So it begs the question. Why hasn’t our government outlawed a product that kills more people than alcohol and marijuana combined; and what kind of moral school of higher learning would encourage their students to live short lives for the selfish pleasure of a few. It’s lives we’re talking about here. Do we need smeared blood on our hands to grasp the impact?
In a recent unofficial poll conducted at CCBC Catonsville, polling 500 hundred students half of those non-smokers, over the last four months, 98.6 percent of those said they would happily stop smoking if they knew their habit would shorten the lives of friends.
That is good news when one considers that it’s nearly impossible to avoid second hand smoke when walking out of “H” building into “D” building at the Catonsville Campus, also known as “Smokers Alley,” despite the large “NO SMOKING” signs. It seems there are never any public safety officers there do any kind of rule enforcing, as most of us hold our breath crossing back and forth between buildings.
There are a small percentage of people that suggest smokers and non-smokers could live in harmony at any of CCBC five campuses, if smokers were given a smoking pavilion away from the main buildings. But how far away is far enough? Furthermore, doesn’t ambiguity make for confusion? How would one police the staff and student body for smoking infractions when they don’t do it now?
A line must be drawn in the concrete!
The truth of the matter is that if we as students and educators don’t make a stand now, our children or grandchildren may have to help us with our respirators in the future.
Is that a fair request to ask of any child?
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