Environmentally conscious smokers

Kim Dunlap

I am not a smoker. (Fritzellian font: Not in that sentence!) All right, I have not been a smoker for very long. I am in my fourth week and fifth box of “casual smoking,” which, to me, means that I have a cigarette here and there. I am usually a closeted smoker, preferring to not walk around campus and smoke and to, instead, smoke on the Briggs boardwalk, during a drive to Appleton’s scenic industrial park, or facing the fountain in City Park.

Though I have not become a smoker-casual or not-until recently, I have, however, staunchly supported smokers’ rights. When LUCC was discussing the implementation of smoking “halos” around the dormitories (before I became my casual smoking self), I was the first to speak up to my floor representative on behalf of smokers and their rights. Since the halo has been approved, I have noticed more cigarette butts around campus.

I really cannot stand the sight of cigarette butts contaminating otherwise attractive landscapes. But can one really blame smokers for this? Well, the obvious answer is “yes,” because smokers are directly responsible for littering cigarette butts seemingly everywhere.

There is, however, a more indirectly responsible party that has contributed to this contamination. The gradual phasing out of smokers and their rights by non-smokers is also to blame.

When non-smokers enforce the “halo” regulation and do not put ashtrays where smokers can actually go to smoke, and when they make indoor communal smoking areas obsolete, one is bound to see an increase of smoking trash on the ground.

I like to think of myself as an environmentally conscious smoker insofar as one can be called that. (A friend pointed out to me that smoking is the most gratuitous emission of carbon dioxide-a very valid point against my e-consciousness.)

The places where I choose to smoke generally do not have nearby ashtrays, so I carry my butts with me until I can dispose of them properly. I am definitely in the minority, as most people, when they do not have access to ashtrays, will litter.

In order reduce the contamination smoking litter causes, my argument is for these non-smoking Puritan types to either stop arbitrarily enforcing rules that cause more harm than good (litter on the ground, smokers becoming even more apathetic about the consequences of smoking) and deny smokers their rights OR provide alternatives to smokers-placing ashtrays in locations where they can smoke and establishing indoor communal smoking areas where they do not have to be 21 to enjoy a cigarette.