No to Mac’s smoking ban McMaster is taking away my choice to debrief from the stress of school. Smoking is no longer my choice, and that’s not okay

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By: Anonymous Contributor

No one wants to be unhealthy. No one wants their health to be negatively affected by other people’s actions.

I think we can all agree on these assertions. But is a full-stop, McMaster-wide smoking ban going to make us healthier? Is it really going to make Marauders “breathe easy”? This ban will not work.

I am a McMaster student and I smoke. I smoke on campus. I stay away from doors, windows, air intakes and fellow students when I smoke.

I don’t exhale if someone passes by.

I put my cigarette butts in the proper boxes, which are becoming harder to find on campus.

You won’t find me next to the student centre doors blowing smoke in your face.

Nor will you find me fogging up the bus stop and choking everyone else out. I don’t want my unhealthy choice to affect you.

I don’t want to be unhealthy either. I don’t think smoking is cool, and I’m well aware of the negative effects cigarette smoking has and will have on my health.

Smoking at school has helped me cope with overwhelming anxiety/panic attacks and OCD, allowing me to attend classes and make it to my third year without relying on a constant supply of Xanax for support.

I certainly don’t need the school or its student groups to explain to me, an adult, that smoking is bad.

I certainly don’t need your support groups. If I were interested, I’d join myself. But I am not.

McMaster, for all of its supposed efforts to address mental health issues, seems all too eager to ignore a major reason that people, including myself, take up smoking: my mental illness.

Smoking at school has helped me cope with overwhelming anxiety/panic attacks and OCD, allowing me to attend classes and make it to my third year without relying on a constant supply of Xanax for support.

Those who don’t suffer from mental illness may not understand, but the relief of knowing that in between classes you can recoup, prepare yourself and have something on hand that isn’t mind altering, is truly great.

It is much more difficult and embarrassing to roll out a yoga mat, play with a stress ball, practice meditative breathing, or whatever other suggestion you may have.

Now, if I need a cigarette, I’ll leave campus property.

That’s fine supposing there is a garbage bin nearby so I don’t have to litter and supposing that there aren’t too many people on the same sidewalk or residential street as me.

This also makes it difficult for me to be able to smoke in between classes with the added stress of worrying if I will be able to make it back to campus on time.

I’m sure to most, the expected response to this ban is “too bad, so sad”.

But I just want to live my life and attend my classes without further dirty looks and scoffs for my choice to smoke and my choice of stress relief.

Instead of guilting those who smoke and isolating them, why not enforce the rules that we already have in place?

You’ll find that most, like me, do our best to follow the rules in place.

For those who don’t it’s not a smoking issue, it’s a character issue. Have designated smoking areas.

Actually, enforce ban areas. Don’t demonize and make people feel unwelcome on their campus just because they smoke for reasons you choose not to understand.

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