Where are the Smoking Areas? Where are the Places We can Breathe?
Where are the Smoking Areas? Where are the Places We can Breathe?
  • 박주희 기자
  • 승인 2010.05.17 21:37
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Many people became more interested in their health after the Ministry of Health and Welfare enforced a law on public health in 1995 and started to monitor the quality of inside air. This law prohibits people from smoking inside public buildings. Although smokers smoke outside, many non-smokers still suffer from cigarette smoke when they pass by. However, we also have to respect smokers' right to smoke. Smoking rooms can solve the problems of smokers and non-smokers both.

YU's Offical Opinion Many students smoke in front of the Central Library, the Science Library Lounge, in front of the Humanities Hall Cafeteria, in front of General Lecture Hall, and many other places on campus. However, the dean of YU Campus Maintenace Team, Chang-Yong Lee said there are no smoking rooms anywhere, and we don't have smoking rooms because students can smoke anywhere except inside, so we need to set up smoking rooms. We can restrict smoking inside, but we can't restrict smoking outside because smoking outside is their right.

Non-smokers also have a right not to inhale smoke in outdoor places, don't you think? How are you going to solve this conflict? Have you thought about it?

Students' Opinions

Many non-smoking and smoking students have different ideas other than setting up smoking rooms in the university. Some students who smoke are against setting up smoking rooms because they don't smoke alone when they enter a smoking room. Many students usually smoke with their friends. Those who support smoking rooms would prefer to smoke freely without being watched by others. There are also many other downsides to having smoking restricted to the outside. For example, in the summer and winter, regardless of harsh weather, they still can only smoke outside. Therefore, it would be beneficial to set up smoking rooms in the university. There are also many opinions of non-smokers in favor of smoking rooms. 60% of Koreans suffer from second-hand smoke, but recently many smokers have made an effort to smoke in smoking areas where non-smokers are not affected by second hand smoke. However, the environment of the university is still impacted by this behavior because smokers throw away cigarette butts anywhere. Also, they smoke near the entrances of buildings; so many students still have to inhale cigarette smoke whether they want to or not. For these and other reasons many non-smoking students would like to see smoking rooms set up. One non-smoking student suggested electronic cigarettes as a solution. These cigarettes vaporize concentrated nicotine and then turn it into vapor. Then smokers could smoke in buildings without the worries of second hand smoke. Most of all they don't include the 4,000 other harmful ingredients found in regular cigarettes. Although electronic cigarettes solve the passive smoke problem, this method is a stopgap because electronic cigarettes are still harmful to our health. Where are the smoking areas? Where can we breathe? Smokers want smoking areas and non-smokers want places where they can freely breathe without being exposed to second hand smoke. Therefore, many universities employ various methods to address the issue.

How Other Universities Deal with the Problem

Dongyang University, Kyungpook University, and others have smoking rooms in buildings, but this is technically illegal. I think a good solution is the one currently employed at Keimyung University if we can't set up smoking rooms. They have instituted a green campus campaign, so students are restricted from smoking within a 10 meter radius of all buildings. However, this method isn't completely effective because many Keimyung University students ingnore this campaign. Therefore, the most important thing is to change the consciousness of students. Generally, many students among those interviewed liked the idea of setting up smoking rooms. The university had different opinions from the students. Their focus pursues a social atmosphere that centers on stopping smoking, so they are not as concerned about the rights of smokers and non-smokers' complaints. If an agreement isn't concluded, there are alternatives like Keimyung University's green campus campaign. However, this method creates another problem in that smokers can't smoke in certain areas, but they can smoke anywhere else. This means that non-smokers are exposed to cigarette smoke all over campus. If there are smoking rooms, we can avoid spreading cigarette smoke in the air. Therefore, we need smoking rooms; this is the best way to solve this problem. As soon as possible many students can be free of these problems if the university takes clear action.

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