Attention, smokers: Hear my plea
I get it.
You have the right to inject tar and formaldehyde and dirt and roadkill and whatever else is packed into those menthol Marlboros you stick into your crusty mouth every 15 minutes. You're right. You have the freedom to do that, and isn't that great. God bless America.
But here's a little something else to think about — what about my right to breathe in toxin-free air and live a few years longer than you because I don't like the taste of pavement?
Oh, what a conundrum. Whose rights matter more? Yours or mine? Does it really matter? No.
You will continue to do what you're doing, and I will continue to give you a glare as the smoke wafts its way into my face. It's the circle of life, and you are the Scar of society, or maybe the Pumba … because you smell. Har har, get it?
So instead of listing 50,000 reasons why you should stop smoking — I'm sure you've seen enough Truth commercials to know better — I'd like to make a compromise. A little tit for tat. A little "I scratch your back, you scratch mine."
My compromise is this: I will stop pointing out that UCF is a smoke-free campus and that you're going to get cancer and die, and you can stop doing the following:
1. Smoking in confined spaces, such as waiting lines and areas right outside buildings.
2. Smoking if you see a pregnant woman nearby. As someone who is eight months pregnant, I can assure you we are the meanest and have no inhibitions when our hormones take over. Run if you see us coming, gather your things and bolt.
3. Blatantly smoking in areas on campus where a lot of people gather. We get that you don't respect that UCF is smoke-free, but can you hide it just a little bit? Just a smidge?
4. Throwing your butts out the window without putting them out in 5 o'clock traffic on Alafaya Trail. Everyone now gets to smell your cigarette because we're trapped. Or how about you don't litter? That's cool, too.
5. Acting like it's OK to smoke when you drink, just because you're drinking. These days, you just look ignorant when you smoke and you're impressing all the wrong people with your puffing.
6. Smoking at the beach, on trails or at places where people are trying to get closer to nature. Your little patch of smog totally negates why people are getting away from the city life.
For the most part, many smokers already adhere to these suggestions. There are many people out there who understand they have an addiction and realize that their issue affects others, and I appreciate that. I'm not going to judge you for your ailment, and I wish you the best in that you are able to one day stop. Regardless, please remember that the rights of those around you also matter and it's noticeable when you blatantly disregard common courtesies.