And there he sits, smoking on the smoke-free campus, right where I have to walk by and hold my breath so that the smoke doesn’t trigger an asthma attack. Oh, well. That’s what inhalers are for! I can always add two more blocks to the two that I added when construction on the new Visitor’s Center blocked the direct route to and from my parking lot. That was the solution given to me when I called the Wellness Center and pointed out that the habit they worked so hard to ban is thriving literally across the street from their building. “I can’t breathe when I walk by there!” “So don’t walk by there.”
Yes, I could choose to not walk by there anymore. That’s a fair solution. After all, how important is my right to freely walk on a smoke-free campus without having to detour around habitual smokers who have made a corner with a short retaining wall “their” spot to smoke? Apparently the smokers in question, and the carpet of cigarette butts on the ground testify that it is a smoker’s hangout, are not students, but employees of Chartwell, thus not strictly kept from smoking. I don’t know about you, but knowing that made me feel so much better about my breathing getting in the way of their smoking on a smoke-free campus. I really should give them space and walk some more, you know, so they won’t be offended by my desire to use the sidewalk and breathe at the same time. Here’s another way to think about it. Consider that when Missouri State was converted to a smoke-free campus that we really meant it. If Chartwell employees enjoy working on campus, then they need to leave campus to smoke. If they don’t think they can walk the single block further to National Ave. before lighting up, they need to stop smoking or lose their jobs. One warning, then out. For the warning, I think it is a good idea for offenders to take a trash bag and pick up all the cigarette butts. Maybe then the ground will stop reeking of smoke even when no one is there. This winking and the soft claim that there is nothing to be done will not do. All students and faculty must abide by this policy. Other employees should too.