Outside of the Liberal Arts building, headed to Fresh Wraps for lunch, I walk directly into someone else’s cloud of smoke. There was always something comforting about basking in my own, but walking through another’s does not have the same effect. It is kind of like smelling your own fart.
They say an ex-smoker is the worst critic. It is true. About three weeks since my last cigarette, I feel comfortable considering myself an ex-smoker, and not a friendly quitter. I have developed this very strong bias toward the “winners,” the ones that are sticking it out. The smug face and glare I poured onto the unintentional offender, casually smoking his square, is forever imprinted into my memory. I have been walking through my own clouds of smoke for over six years. But this was the first time I have walked through someone else’s. Am I sorry for my self-righteousness? No, not really. A bit envious, maybe, but not sorry. It is gross, disgusting, unnerving, questionable, interesting, luring, familiar, delightful. Wait, what are you thinking? Keep walking.
Okay, so maybe I have a little work to do before I get to join the non-smokers club, but I am not lying when I say three weeks. I’m proud of that! If you have ever been a smoker, you appreciate what I am going through.
I am not from the area. The place I call home is nearly two thousand miles away, and almost everyone there is a smoker. You might even get the glare for turning one down when offered. The non-smokers are liars, and the ex-smokers are one drag away from a relapse.
Landing in Orem, Utah has been a bit of a culture shock – an electrocution if you will. Smokers here are about as prevalent as intellectuals in my hometown. Walking through someone else’s cloud of smoke in Ohio, you just assume it’s your own. Here, you get a look and a grunt, much like the one I gave to that unintentional offender outside of the Liberal Arts building. Second thought, maybe I do feel a little remorse. My apologies, whoever you are.
As would be expected from your typical Facebook junkie, I used the “Ask a Question” app to take a survey concerning on-campus smoking. The results were slightly different than what I expected.
I gave my online friends three options to choose from: “Yes, you should be able to smoke on campus, anywhere you would like,” “Yes, you should be able to smoke on campus, but only in certain areas,” and “No, you should not be able to smoke anywhere on campus.”
After three hours I had nearly 50 votes, “Yes/in certain areas”, was the strong favorite. Leaving “Yes/anywhere” in the dust, and “No” even further behind. I would have expected to see more “No’s,” but then again, these were my friends that we are talking about.
By state and university regulation, Clean Air Act, you must be outside of 25 feet from any entrance while smoking cigarettes, cigars, or any pipe tobacco. The exhaust I took in was certainly shy of said 25 feet. That raises another question: Why are these regulations not being enforced? Should they be? Honestly, subconsciously, I’m just pissed off I can’t have a cigarette myself. It is like walking by an ex girlfriend holding hands with another guy.
But the law is the law. Being an ex-smoker, I don’t want to be around it. I do not want to see it or smell it. Do I not have the right to breathe clean air? Isn’t all the smog lingering in this valley enough abuse on my respiratory system? I understand that the man smoking that cigarette didn’t intend to erk me this way, but he did! That’s why there are rules, man.
Ex-smokers are indeed the toughest critics. It obviously has everything to do with envy and jealousy. People are going to continue to smoke their cigarettes anyway. Smokers don’t want to bother anyone, they just want their nicotine fix. I will do my best to tolerate their addiction, if the smokers will do their best to keep those damn clouds out of my face, at least for the time being. Like I said, I’m only one drag away from a relapse.
By Corin Robinson