Having cigarette smoke blown in your face while walking on the Pearl Street Mall is like having somebody spit on you. Being out in public exposes us to all manner of rude and sometimes disgusting behavior; that's life. Thankfully, the Boulder City Council has drawn a line at the injustice of having to breathe somebody else's toxic fumes. The university should follow suit and ban smoking on all CU campuses.
Society pays an enormous price for cigarette smokers. According to the CDC, in 2004 alone cigarette smoking cost the United States $96 billion in direct medical costs and another $97 billion in lost productivity. This price is paid by all of us.
The smokers pay the ultimate price. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Almost 400,000 people in the United States die every year from smoking. The American Lung Association reports that cigarette smoke contains at least 69 known cancer-causing chemicals. In addition to cancer, smoking causes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and then death. These are not new discoveries.
Smokers choose to smoke. It is a terrible choice, but it is theirs to make. The rest of us get stuck with their health care bill. Let them smoke in their own homes, yards and cars. The social contract doesn't include getting to kill yourself slowly while the rest of us watch.