Take a note from Japan,  ban smoking in public places

As I read Carly Haycraft’s passionate plea in the November 3rd issue of the Paisano to ‘stop whining’ about litter caused by smokers and to ‘walk around’ the smokers, I am reminded that I shouldn’t have to avoid smokers. 

I would also like to remind Carly that smokers can extinguish their butts and use a regular trash can.

Smoking 20 feet away from entrances doesn’t work very well.  A gentle breeze or the change in pressure when doors open causes the smoke to be drawn in to buildings and often wafts in to nearby classrooms and down the corridors.

The number of cans available on campus is irrelevant to many smokers.  I have watched people smoking right next to an ash can and flick their cigarette butt in to the grass or on the ground on numerous occasions.  Why do they do this? Indifference? Laziness?  I don’t know. 

I am sure there are smokers on campus that make an effort to not cause discomfort to others, but in my experience they are few and far in between.

What is the solution? 

While vacationing in Tokyo, Japan I witnessed an interesting option.

Outdoor smoking areas [not directly  connected to the building] that were completely enclosed, ventilated to keep fumes inside and climate controlled.

They were stationed at all major loitering points throughout the cities’ public centers.  It sounds extreme to coral smokers into a room to smoke, but it also sounds extreme to tell non-smokers just to ‘walk around’ drifting smoke and to add ash cans that very few use. 

You see, smoking is banned in public places in Japan. It appears to be working well for the Japanese. 

The U.S. may be far away from taking these kind of measures.  Yet, until smokers, as a group, clean up their act, stop littering and take in to account their their activity is a choice that a growing number do not endorse, a campus wide smoking ban will remain a hot issue.