Opinion — 28 April 2017

By Greg Buckley @Gbuckking

As a consumer myself of tobacco products, the two-dollar tax increase for a pack of cigarettes is ridiculous yet serves a higher purpose.

So now that I pay $9 for a pack, there needs to be a reasonable place to smoke on campus.

There are no convenient areas on campus for smokers to indulge. We have limited, awkwardly placed spots around the school, and when it rains that number turns to zero.

During three-hour classes the in-between break is spent looking for an approved place to smoke so campus security doesn’t shut us down.

Now that we are being overwhelmingly taxed it’s time we are given the proper due diligence to be treated with class.

Giving us a bench tucked away in a bush isn’t cutting it anymore.

If you look at the treatment of other bad habits students possess, none are treated to the point where they are completely removed.

Students are still allowed to talk during lectures and show up late, disrupting class.  Students who use vape pens are allowed to freely walk around campus.

Women and even some men are allowed to wear yoga pants and strut their stuff.

All of those things are distracting in the same way a smoker can be.

Does the state tax them? Does the school make them go hide in bushes or stand in the parking lot?

Walking 200-yards to the nearest designated smoking pit is inconvenient and unfair. It’s comparable to how there is never any parking on campus. There is never anywhere to smoke.

At least our bad habit is giving back to a higher cause.

The tax will generate 26 million a year according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That money will be applied to the Lead-Acid Battery Cleanup Fund, which is used to monitor, clean up or remove in-state sites that may have been contaminated by a lead-acid battery recycling facility.

Tobacco users are giving back on a daily basis for a bad habit we freely elect to use. The price is high, but because of nicotine addiction or mental weakness, cigarettes will still be bought.

While Las Positas builds new buildings and redesigns new innovative ways to improve lives of the common student, they need to build gazebos to appease the smoking crowd that exists.

We aren’t asking to smoke in classrooms or to be in the middle of campus.

Four strategically placed locations around the perimeter of the campus with cigarette butt receptacles would suffice and welcome the idea that smokers are students too.

It would also reduce the amount of cigarette butts that are on the ground in the current smoking locations. That is due because there is no where to throw the butt away, so the next best thing is to either put it in your pocket or throw it on the ground.

Yes, I understand from a non-smokers point of view. It stinks. It reeks of cat urine and old gym socks. It’s even worse when they are sitting next to you in class.

The smell issue can be fixed, but it’s on the individual smoker. Some people are just gross to begin with whether they smoke or not. They may have other habits that are probably going to stink regardless.

It’s more of a matter of courtesy.

For me, after I’m done smoking I air out for a little bit. I wash my hands, chew some gum and if I have some smell good spray I’ll put it on prior to going back to class.

I do that out of personal preference but I don’t have to do that.  I do however refer to not be that smelly kid with bad breath walking around campus.

For some, personal hygiene is an option and they don’t care. No one can change that.

In a school that is accepting of many cultural diversities and topics they are doing a horrible job reaching the tax-paying smokers. It might be a good idea for them to figure it out now with cigarettes before the influx of marijuana users grow over the years, as they will need a place to smoke too.

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