As I walk through the breezeway, I’m caught off guard by the pungent smell of tobacco invading my nostrils and I can’t help but cough. Why should students be subjected to something that could potentially endanger our health?
Someone dies from a tobacco-related illness every eight seconds in the United States. Valencia College is doing the right thing when it comes to making the campus smoke-free for the 2012 academic year.
“I have a problem with breathing, so I take offense to people smoking around me,” Yolanda Williams said. “I think they should respect your personal space.”
Not only does smoking affect smokers, but those around them. Secondhand smoke is responsible for 46,000 deaths each year from heart disease of non-smokers, according to the American Cancer Society. Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve’s wife who was in the original Superman movie, died of lung cancer from secondhand smoke. Also, exposure to secondhand smoke while pregnant increases the chance a woman will have a still-born birth, spontaneous abortion, a low birth-weight baby, and many other delivery and pregnancy problems.
“Because people don’t use the smoking areas that are designated for smoking, we need to have Valencia smoke-free,” Olivia Mack-Solden said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t mind if they smoked on campus.”
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is not only the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, it’s also the most preventable form of cancer in our society. As well as lung cancer, smoking causes 10 other types of cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and more.
“I don’t like walking into hallways when people are smoking because I don’t want to be at risk,” said Riley Messer.
I have been subjected to the negative effects of smoking, I’ve known many relatives that have died due to cancer, and one in particular who has died from lung cancer, but was a non-smoker. Most of my family are smokers, and I constantly worry about being subjected to secondhand smoke.
Smoking will kill as many as one in six people by 2030. It causes more deaths every year than alcohol, car accidents, suicides, AIDS, homicides, and illegal drugs combined. Making Valencia smoke-free is small step for a big problem, and hopefully this will lead to many other colleges to follow in our footsteps along with the other 530 colleges in the United States that have already gone smoke-free.