Saturday, October 8, 2011

MCC And Smoking

Massasoit Community College has implemented a smoking ban that forces the addicted into two designated areas to enjoy their slow method of killing themselves. The administration at MCC had actually conducted an extensive survey that showed overwhelming support for such a ban. I have zero sympathy for the addicted.

I grew up in an environment where smokers were allowed to run amuck with their habit and the whole process was consider chic and sexy. Unfortunately I have little tolerance for the foul aroma and it made life quite difficult for me. As I got older any bars or restaurants were off limits or I resigned myself to about an hour before the burning eyes and pulmonary irritation took place. I was an outstanding candlepin bowler but that had to go since bowling alleys looked like the morning fog over ‘Frisco Bay.

On airplanes it was a disaster. In the early 70s I had to travel for business and three to five hours in a closed environment meant hours of recovery. Classrooms were also a problem as folks would just light up and in fact light up in all public places. One of the reasons I thrived in a computer environment is that smoking was prohibited around the equipment. But changes would be taking place.

In the late 70s I was part of a group called GASP - Group Against Smoking Pollution. Goal #1 was a simple one - to ban smoking in supermarkets. The approach was through local boards of health to make it a health issue and not a political one. By this point there was - unlike global warming - irrefutable evidence of the negative impact of smoking and - pardon the pun - the smoking gun of second hand smoke.

The wheels of fate have now placed smoking into a realm where even the addicted have the manners and common sense to know where and when to light up. I have a boat load of sympathy for their entrapment into the addiction but I have even more sympathy and responsibility for myself and maintaining good health.

So the whinny little group at MCC is offended that they are under strict supervision. Tough. Cry me a river since I went through the other side of the equation for 30+ years. The excuses they put forth were flat out pathetic. You can’t go without for five or six hours? Please. If you were flying from Boston to LA you’d be shut out and somehow manage.

Now I don’t want the foolish addiction banned. If someone wishes to light up in their car or home just go for it. Hopefully they’ll have some common sense and not expose the non smokers to their pollutants. But it is now getting to be a much better world for the majority of us who do not practice the habit. I can eat without having my eyes burning and travel without any worry of someone puffing on a gawd awful stogie next to me. Even hotels I now only have to worry about bedbugs and not the pallor of smoke the previous occupants has left as their personal gift.

In the work place the loading docks are now important gathering places as the smoking zombies assemble several times a day for what seems like endless “breaks” to puff away. I know when I was in the DPS (Dreaded Private Sector) there was a strong undercurrent of resentment over time lost as the zombies fled for their magic puff.

I know most want to quit and have made multiple attempts but like serial dieters they seem to go back and forth between cold turkey and a rendezvous with the Marlboro Man. At least with my ice cream addiction I can exercise the excess off and somehow second drippings from my chin won’t send someone into cardiac arrest. The simple fact is the various forms of smoking are designed to kill you when used as directed. The actuarial tables do not lie on that one.

Where I taught and still tutor I see one of the worse results of behavior disorder and it is exemplified by smoking. What better way to churn up the adults and authority figures than to puff up. Many of the students started at ten years old. A real defiant and “Take that” attitude. Many will flat out say “If I only knew then….“ I have seen some with a pack a day habit that has put them into a situation where even their meager employment dollars are drained to feed the habit. The program has interventions to help but, unfortunately, the success rate is akin to the recent Red Sox September.

My daughter was a student at MHS ten years ago and literally could not use the girls facilities because of the dense smoke. This is a similar problem at where I tutor. The smoke wafting out of the boys rooms can become a dread for me. In fact out of curiosity I once asked an attorney I know if someone like myself with a documented health reaction to smoke could actually bring a criminal complaint against someone smoking in a restricted area by claiming it as a type of assault. He was quite fascinated with that concept.

The malfeasance of the cigarette industry is well documented. Most have managed to weasel out of class action suits despite the evidence that shows a pattern of lying, skewering facts and attempting to debunk the opposition - much like those global warming advocates did a few years ago. But the risk-reward is really great so take a chance. Most of the companies have managed to diversify so much that cigarettes only represent a fraction of the business. They fully comprehended the direction public support was going.

Now the excuse machine at MCC was in full force as the addicted attempted to somehow do a weasel t6o get their way. Too far to walk? Hey, it will do some good for your lungs. The excuse that it could lead to car break-ins. Oh - so smokers are car thieves?

So I am sure the latest brouhaha at MCC will just go up in smoke.

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