19 September 2007

Toxic Clouds and the "Box of Death"

I think my first five weeks back here at K-State has knocked a couple hours of the end of my life. Sad story. No, it's not the stress or even the loneliness; it's the secondhand smoke.

Smoking indoors is forutantely banned, but I still walk through toxic clouds every day without fail as I pass by other students (smoking) on their way to class. I see them coming with that little stick of death sitting snuggly between their fingers, and I immediately hold my breath. My body is a temple. But seconds away from passing out, I inhale, subsequently downing a deadly perfume. Now, it's not just the bad smell/taste as it jumps into my nostrils and down into my lungs. It's the health risks. Here's what the American Lung Association has to say about secondhand smoke:

- Secondhand smoke has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known cause of cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen).
What!? So this person inconsideratly exhaling in my line of travel could cause me to get cancer?! How rude!
- Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.
Um, gross. And yeah, thanks a lot, I'm not going to be alive as long as I would have.
- Secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year.
I bet those people are wishing they could punch a smoker for killing them.
- Fifteen states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont - as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico prohibit smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon and Utah have passed legislation prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars, but the laws have not taken full effect yet.
Why isn't Kansas on here? Campus is a public place. I say we make a smoking box where smokers can go and breathe their own secondhand smoke and the special door will prevent it from escaping. We'll paint it black and call it the "Box of Death."
- The current Surgeon General’s Report concluded that scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to second hand smoke. Short exposures to second hand smoke can cause blood platelets to become stickier, damage the lining of blood vessels, decrease coronary flow velocity reserves, and reduce heart rate variability, potentially increasing the risk of heart attack.
I didn't come to K-State to get sticky blood platelets. Get a room. (Or a box).

Wow, was that mean of me? I'm sorry. I don't understand the psychology behind smoking and I thought nowadays with all the negative publicity, smoking would drop off and kids would be smart enough not to start. It's gross. I'm in an ornery mood tonight; my apologies.


Jeremy said...

Yeah, stick it to the man! Or the woman or whoever is smoking I guess. Smoking is pretty pointless, I think.
On the upside it helps against stress because it's slightly relaxing and it does tend to keep off the pounds. It also seems to slow or stop Alzheimer's disease, but thats really just the difference between dying painfully of cancer or dying not really knowing who you are and why those people are surrounding your hospital bed.
But the trade off between being a little relaxed and having lung cancer or emphysema is kind of obvious.

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