Fresh Air

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02/21/2011

Fresh Air

Portland Community College decided to become smoke-free in the fall of 2009. They were just one of the many colleges in Oregon, and by extension, in the United States, to become smoke free campuses. Most people know that smoking is bad, but how bad is secondhand smoke? Many people that go to campuses dislike breathing in secondhand smoke. PCC’s policy, as of fall 2009, to become a non-smoking campus, was a wise decision that listened to the students.

Secondhand smoke does not just smell bad and taste bad; it is bad. Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke that come from the end of a cigarette (which is called sidestream smoke), and the smoke that is exhaled by the smoker (which is called mainstream smoke). According to Cancer.org in their article “Secondhand Smoke,” they state: Non-smokers who breathe in secondhand smoke take in nicotine and other toxic chemicals just like smokers do…. Secondhand smoke can cause harm in many ways. In the United States alone, each year it is responsible for: * Increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma * More than 750,000 middle ear infections in children

* An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers * About 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults
By choosing to smoke, smokers affect non-smokers around them, and the ramifications can be deadly. According to the article, there are over 49,000 deaths per year in the United States caused by secondhand smoke. The smoker may not realize that he is affecting so many innocent people; yet he is, and according to the article, “50,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually” are caused by secondhand smoke. The small children and babies do not have a choice whether or not to be around the smokers; yet they are the ones who suffer. When a person decides to smoke, that person may not know what impact he is making on the environment and populous around him, but others feel it and get impacted by it, sometimes instantaneously. Lane Community College students and employees were surveyed March-April of 2008, and lungoregon.org states, “One-fourth of respondents have experienced immediate health effects from secondhand smoke exposure, such as wheezing, coughing, or allergic reaction.” If one out of every four people experience immediate side effects when exposed to secondhand smoke, the dangerous implications of secondhand smoke are apparent. Inhaling secondhand smoke can be deadly and undeniably has serious side effects. The alarming datum about secondhand smoke is the fact that there is no minimum limit to having bad side effects. Secondhand smoke is harmful no matter what amount is inhaled. It has different degrees of effects depending on the amount inhaled, but every little bit of smoke is damaging to the body.

Most students know that secondhand smoking is bad. Most students do not like to breathe in secondhand smoke. A survey taken by Lungoregon.org underlines this fact. Lungoregon conducted a survey of 500 community college students in Oregon, and found out that “71% say they are bothered be secondhand smoke on campus.” Moreover, the survey shows that “54% say they are exposed to secondhand smoke on campus at least a few times a week. 34% are exposed to secondhand smoke every day.” Given the high amounts of students affected by secondhand smoke, it comes as no surprise that “two-thirds of the students agree that they would choose a ‘smokefree’ college over a college that allows smoking on campus. 47% strongly agree.” Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary college in Oregon with over 86,700 students. If they were to go smoke free, it would be more appealing for students to attend classes at their campuses, instead of other colleges. It is important...
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