Chris Sorochin is a former adjunct instructor in Stony Brook’s Department of Linguistics and the current host of WUSB’s “If This Be Treason.”

It’s been several decades now since college campuses were adult environments, and I guess the move towards becoming an extension of high school continues apace with the “Tobacco Free Initiative.”  Will there, I wonder, be signs, like the ones at schoolyards which proclaim them “drug free” and provoke knowing smirks from students past and present? Will roving bands of self-appointed “hall monitors” hand out demerits?

Chief Deputy to the President Judith Greiman says the new policy is part of a “culture of respect.” I hope Ms. Greiman will forgive me and Stony Brook’s other smokers for feeling considerably less than respected by the new regulations, which would effectively compel us to travel off campus to smoke if we’re not lucky enough to have a car in which to take shelter. Or if we do have a car parked in one of Stony Brook’s far-flung, inaccessible lots.

If memory serves, didn’t the University Senate vote down this exact measure a couple of years ago? I guess that doesn’t matter, does it? It certainly would be nice to know why the Administration finds this particular bit of unreasonable prohibitionism so incredibly necessary, though. Is it to appease deep-pocketed entities (like Mike Bloomberg or certain pharmaceutical companies) that control research funding and grants?  

Many thanks to the senators who spoke out against this measure. It’s nice to know there are still some reasonable people out there.



  1. I can smoke in my own home? So why was a there an antismoking club at Stony Brook whose members went around to local landlords and urged them not to rent to smokers? Changing the world through housing discrimination–ya gotta love it.
    So you want 100% of the campus–every last square inch–to conform to your wishes, yet I’M the one who’s selfish? Too bad we smoker weren’t a lot more selfish a lot earlier; we might not be the quarry in this latest version of the Great American Witch Hunt.
    Public indecency: you want to equate smoking with flashing? Seriously? You know back in the 1960s, when SB was a lot more free and a lot more fun, an art professor had students stand at campus bus stops naked as part of a conceptual piece. And why shouldn’t anti-vaxers put their kids in public schools? The other kids are all “vaxed” and protected, right? I’m surprised you’re not more in sympathy withe the anti-vaxers–they, too, want to be protected from unwanted, possibly dangerous chemicals…
    “React” is a weasel word; anyone can “react” to anything. I think if anyone had ever had a severe sort of episode upon being exposed to smoke, we’d have heard about it by now and it would be plastered on every available surface. Someone freaking out psychosomatically because someone else is smoking doesn’t count. I know several people with asthma and they tell me they can be in smoky, but decently-ventilated INSIDE environments for more than an hour without discomfort.
    Chemicals have scary-sounding names, but it’s really the amount that’s potentially dangerous. You know that there’s arsenic in tap water, don’t you? And that anything released into the open air is less concentrated?
    You should also know that one can’t prove a negative. Instead, you should have to prove that smoke DOES affect other people.
    But here, chew on this: Japan has one of the world’s highest rates of smoking AND the world’s second-longest life expectancy. Other countries that smoke more and live longer than the US include France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Greece.

  2. You know you’re right, I should just start smoking myself. All of these posts are just giving me cancer anyway, so why the hell not?

  3. Don’t worry, unless you’re made of sugar and you melt in the rain. It’s outdoors. For years, people smoked indoors almost everywhere and nothing ever happened to anyone. You’ll be fine as soon as you grow a pair.
    And speaking of things that come in pairs, did you know that smokers’ lungs are considered perfectly acceptable for transplant? Speaking of cancer, the rate has gone up, as the rate of smoking has gone down. Asthma, too!

  4. Where the hell did you four nincompoops come from all of a sudden? Did some kind of weird pro-lung cancer forum stumble across this article or something, or are you guys from 4chan?

    Anyway, short of carrying around my own oxygen tank you know darn well that there’s nothing I can actually do to avoid inhaling another’s smoke if we happen to be walking in the same direction. I could change my course (which I shouldn’t have to), but with all the smokers on campus that would likely make little difference.

    But you don’t actually care about logic; it’s obvious you came from the same place as Mr. “smoking hasn’t been linked to lung cancer, you Nazis” up there.

  5. I think it’s agreed 98759875 that it would be my preference as well to stay entirely away from (dishonest) people like you. So, that you should ingest anything I do incidentally (or by some brute force of mine as you imply) is moot. This is getting a little sick: this game of yours, insisting on following me around, getting into my space, and complaining I threaten you by way of your own unwanted advances.

  6. Repeal outdoor smoking bans. There is no health risk from second hand smoke outdoors. (Actually, there is virtually none indoors either.)

  7. As long as you (I’m a smoker too, but in my country we’re still free), the smokers, don’t do anything against this nazy way of thinking, you’ll keep getting rear ended by all these liars. Saying non smokers’ health is at risk if someone smokes near them in the great outdoors is such a retarded bull… And that after it has become public knowledge that scientists couldn’t prove the existence of any direct link between smoking and lung cancer…
    Let’s not forget who the first smoke nazy was… And if you don’t know who that was, his infamous name was Hitler!!!

  8. Respect is a mutual thing – you can smoke in your home, in your car, away from others and you have every right to. When you step into a public place though, it’s on the same level as public indecency – your selfish needs aren’t superseded by others’ well-being (e.g. anti-vaxxers trying to put their children into public schools).

    Who decided it was disrespectful? Probably the people who don’t enjoy the smell or smoke and again, the people who have adverse reactions to them.

    I do in fact know at least 3 people and a potential 4th who has reacted due to reactive airway syndrome and/or asthma. It tends to happen with unfiltered secondhand smoke. I don’t have either asthma or RAS and reacted to my fathers’ smoke on occasion growing up. The receptacles aren’t part of my argument, though that’s an interesting point – if we ban smoking then logic dictates they remove them and that does mean butts might end up in unwanted places. They should keep them around in my opinion but that’s definitely something to consider further some other time.

    The car analogy isn’t correct. Cars fortunately have catalytic converters which reduce pollutants to mainly hydrocarbons, the vast majority CO2. Considering CO2 is in the ambient atmosphere at ~400ppm anyways, and people produce it naturally in respiration, it is in no way close to the local air pollution caused by smoking. Smoking produces much more than simple aerosol hydrocarbons, it releases arsenic, carbon compounds (VOC’s included), and more carcinogens directly into the air at high concentrations.

    Litter is a separate subject entirely and isn’t really equivalent to the pollution we’re discussing. I’m not perfect, but we’re not discussing my garbage habits, we’re discussing polluting the local air with carcinogenic compounds that can spark asthma attacks and other respiratory issues. The point being is, unless you can show that smoking doesn’t affect other people, it’s disrespectful and rude to those around you.

  9. Silly me, I always thought respect was a mutual thing: I respect no smoking areas and people like you leave me alone. But now I see my reward for this is to be harassed even further.
    I was also under the delusion that “community” included me and the 20% or so of us who smoke, not just you and certainly not some bureaucrats, imposing it as some sort of royal edict. And who decided that smoking in public was “disrespectful”? Did the “community” vote on it?
    Do you know anyone who has actually had an asthma attack or a real coughing fit because of people smoking outdoors? And if you don’t like butts on the ground now, just wait until they take away those plastic receptacles because “nobody” will be smoking. If you want to see what it will look like, just pay a visit to the University Hospital: those ugly signs are all over everything, and people are still smoking.
    I assume you don’t drive a car or use any other form of internal combustion transportation, because those things pollute the air AND are killing the entire planet. Nor do you consume any product that comes in a container or wrapper that can be discarded as litter, do you? No, you’re perfect, aren’t you?

  10. Yep, I agree with Taylor 100%. Others’ health is more important than your ability to satisfy your addiction wherever you are whenever you want, and you’re a fool if you believe that smoking only impacts you.

    Like with any drug, I couldn’t care less if you stick it in your own body. But it’s selfish to the extreme to think you should have the right to make me ingest it too.

  11. The onus of respect is on the smoker, not the community. You are the one polluting the air around you, potentially sparking asthma attacks, coughing fits, and contributing to the degradation of the area by throwing your butts on the ground. Until a cigarette is made so all of the smoke only goes in your lungs (which isn’t going to happen), you have no right to feel disrespected. You smoking in a populated, public area is disrespectful to others.

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