No big surprise. Everyone knows smoking is harmful.

According to Livestrong.com cigarette smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable disease and death. Cigarette smoke damages every organ in your body as soon as you inhale. The more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes can cause serious diseases and death.

According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is responsible for 46,000 deaths from heart disease of non-smokers and 3,400 deaths from lung cancer of non-smokers each year. Exposure of secondhand smoke pregnant woman can cause birth and pregnancy complications. Reports by the U.S. Surgeon General said every exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful.

Nonsmokers are unfairly exposed to lungs full of secondhand smoke every day in public and on Wesleyan’s campus. The amount of smoke on campus is an issue. Sometimes I have to hold my breath as I walk to class to avoid choking on smoke as I walk by a group of smokers.

If they smoke in the designated smoking areas, they are not breaking any rules; however, I believe there should be less designated areas so the nonsmokers will not have to suffer every time they step outside of a building on campus.

Additionally, smokers should be considerate and not smoke when walking to class. The worst thing is to be stuck behind someone who has just lit up and is walking in front of you on the sidewalk with a trail of smoke following them.

One could argue if you don’t like the smoke, don’t be around it. But smoke travels and pollutes the air and it may not even be close. You can tune out someone who is being annoying and loud, but you can’t tune out not being able to breathe.

If people want to mess up their own air that is fine, but when they start messing with the air other people breathe, that is inconsiderate and unfair.

And now a less commonly known hazard from smoking in addition to firsthand and secondhand smoke, is third-hand smoke, which is harmful to children the most.

After the cigarette is put out, there is still the toxins left which settle on furniture, clothing, or whatever was around while the cigarette was lit. So people who are exposed to places after someone has smoked in them are involuntarily exposed to third-hand smoke.

Obviously people are still going to smoke, but they should think about the people who will be affected by their actions before they automatically light that cigarette. 

vaslaten@txwes.edu