LETTER: Smokers are people too, you know
The current popular consensus is that smoking is a harmful habit practiced by people who neglect their own health.
It seems like every day another disease is linked to smoking. Also, it smells terrible. I have watched the disgust on people’s faces whenever they have walked behind someone taking a drag.
But just because my olfactory receptors are occasionally violated doesn’t mean I am going to hop on the crusade against smokers.
In America, the rights of people in a minority are often ignored or abused. It’s not nearly as bad as what is happening to gay people, but the public has made it clear that being a smoker makes you a second-class citizen.
I can get behind the lawsuits against tobacco companies for marketing cigarettes to children. I support keeping smoking out of public indoor areas, where it is actually harmful. I can even make peace with cigarette ads being banned from TV. But now, the laws being made against tobacco are not trying to protect innocent lungs. They are a passive-aggressive form of prohibition against smokers in general.
Every day, another outdoor area becomes “smoke-free.” Non-smokers get to feel proud that their community is being progressive. What about the smokers? These people have a physical addiction, but often times have to go well out of their way to quell it. Was their smoking in some park really bothering that many people?
The worst of all are the taxes on cigarettes. Someone always points out that every time a tax increase is passed revenue goes up and smoking declines. It seems completely unethical to raise funds from people doing something they can’t help but do. By the same logic, we could fight diabetes by raising the taxes on insulin. Think about it.
Kevin Dodd, psychology senior