Campus Complainer: There are worse things than secondhand smoke

I was strolling along McKeldin Mall the other day between classes and plopped down in front of the library to talk on the phone. Outside of McKeldin is a popular spot to stop for a cigarette. Students and professors alike congregate just outside of its doors to literally blow off smoke before diving into the books.

As I sat, I noticed a common occurrence: Multiple passersby doing the loud, over exaggerated fake cough. It happened once and I paid no mind. Twice and my ears perked up. When it didn’t stop, I was shocked.


First of all, the fake cough is a bad bit, unless of course, you’re into looking like a passive aggressive asshole. If that’s the case, then by all means, exacerbate your lungs to your little heart’s desire. Second of all, what’s up with these people thinking they’re going to contract the black lung because they walked by a smoker outside? It’s not like you’ve been locked in a study room with a group of chain smokers. You’re not trapped on the fourth floor of Ellicott Hall trying to escape a blazing inferno. You walked near the faint traces of cigarette smoke. God forbid you get a whiff of something unpleasant in the squeaky clean city of College Park.

“Oh! But secondhand smoke KILLS!” the softies will object. Really? Kills who? Have you ever met someone who suffers from emphysema that would pin their disease on secondhand smoke 20 years prior?

“So… much… smoke… in front of the library,” they’d wheeze in your doomsday fairy land. No, that wouldn’t happen. You know who dies of smoking related ailments and diseases? Smokers. Breathe enough smoke into a baby’s face, then you’ll probably have someone affected by secondhand smoke. You’re in the prime of your life. If your immune system is that susceptible trace amounts of cigarette smoke, maybe you should invest in a bubble to roll around in.

If lung health and secondhand smoke outside is such a big issue, then why don’t I see anyone fake coughing when the landscape workers bust out their leaf blowers? I’m positive walking around a bunch of those kicking up dirt, dust and pollen would be more detrimental to your health than walking by a smoker. They wear protective dust masks for Testudo’s sake!

Let me make it clear, I’m not a smoker. I might enjoy a cigarette on the tail end of a night spent drinking, but other than that it’s not something I endorse. I’m just tired of these dramatic lung-hackers and that can’t leave others in peace with their life choices.

This topic has me all worked up. I think I’ll go smoke a cigarette just to spite you fools.

Taylor Schwink is a senior journalism major and student blogger for The Diamondback


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