Shouting “Smoke!” in a crowded theater

Which of these phrases gets your pulse up? 

  • “Wanna grab a smoke?”
  • “Look at that disgusting ashtray right by the door.”
  • “Man, can you believe how far I have to walk to smoke a cigarette?”
  • “Ooooh, that cigarette smoke is coming in my window!”
  • “Gee is taking away my rights!”
  • “College students should be smart enough to not smoke!”

People feel strongly about smoking.  At least in cycles.  It is somewhat like a presidential election – every few years, people declare their intentions to fight for smokers’ rights, or to fight for a ban on all tobacco.   It’s one of those things that never goes away.  Yet the issue is a hard one to resolve.  Even the USG candidates and President Gee disagreed in the Lantern on what should be done. 

Perhaps we can agree on:

  • Nicotine is an addictive stimulant. Once you start using it, it is hard to stop.
  • Burning tobacco leaves and inhaling the smoke, or using any of the new smokeless versions exposes the user to multiple health risks.
  • For a lot of nonsmoking people, being around tobacco smoke is irritating and bad for their health too.

This is not a new debate for OSU, or across the country for that matter. Reducing tobacco use has been a prevention priority since the 1964 report from the Office of Surgeon General, which first described the hazards.  It has even recently come under regulatory control by the Food and Drug Administration. 

So, should we discuss this issue again?  Do we do something about it?  If doing something, what?  Give us your comments. 

Breathe easy.

Roger Miller, MD (SHS Preventive Medicine) for BuckMD