Dirty deeds spoil clean air

Some students are smoking mad and they’re not going to take it anymore – and I don’t blame them. As much as I believe it’s the decision of private business owners to allow or not allow smoking in their businesses.

If you don’t agree with a policy or law, then voice your opinion and vote for what you do believe in. Otherwise, the laws and policies are in place for a reason: so that we can have some sort of order in a world that could quickly turn chaotic without them.

In 2006, Northern Kentucky University implemented the Clean Air Act, which stated all areas within 30 feet of all buildings are non-smoking areas. It also designated six areas as smoking areas.

The Northerner reported Oct. 31 that many of the rules are not being followed and that three students complained, prompting Dean of Students Matt Brown to send an e-mail to all students to remind them of the Clean Air Act’s policies. Three students complained and yet, as the same article reported, about 25 people sent thank you e-mails; some of them even inquiring as to the punishment for someone caught not following the Clean Air Act’s guidelines.

I came away with two main thoughts after reading the article. My first thought was that there aren’t enough people are speaking up and yet many are obviously bothered by smokers not following the rules.

Although I’ve been annoyed when walking through those who are smoking too close to doorways, I haven’t complained to the “authorities.” But what about the methods of effective punishment? There are currently no penalties for breaking the Clean Air Act. What’s to stop the majority of people who are not following the rules when there are no consequences?

The answer: Nothing. The Clean Air Act states that it “does not intend to vilify or embarrass current smokers,” but maybe that’s exactly what needs to happen.

Let me clarify. Smokers should not be vilified or embarrassed, but those who are not being considerate of non-smokers and are not following the rules may benefit from a small amount of shame.

Although I’ve never formally complained, I, like the some of the people who sent the thank you e-mails, have daydreamed of punishment for these lawbreakers.

One punishment I’ve dreamed up is that offenders be asked to pick up all the cigarette butts in a certain space, preferably around the area where the student was caught breaking the rules. This is just one idea and I know you have more!

So, let’s make a commitment. The next time I see people smoking where they’re not supposed to, I’m going to send a complaint to the dean. I’m also going to support, and possibly even suggest, punishment for the rule-breakers. For all of you who agree, please do the same!