While at Pacific for Homecoming, I read your Sept. 19th Index editorial a “Proposed ban on smoking on campus.” Your analogy to being “at home” at Pacific doesn’t ring true. “At home” you do not live in proximity to hundreds of unreleated people. “At home” young people are subject to many seemingly arbitrary rules, among which almost certainly is “no smoking.”

Very few, if that many, college-aged smokers are “painfully aware” of the health risks they take by smoking. If they were, would they smoke? Smoking vs. drinking is a false comparison. Unless done alcoholically, the effects of drinking seldom linger more than a day; smoking almost inevitably becomes a long-term drug addiction and habit. Finally, even if smokers abide by location rules, friends and others still have to put up with “tobacco stink.”

I do not understand why a young person today would take up smoking. When I started, there were whispers about cancer (that went unheeded by “immortal youth”) and absurd claims smoking would stunt your growth; cigarettes in Oregon in 1965 were 22 cents a pack, less by the carton! Today, so much more is widely known about smoking’s serious, long term damage to health; at three dollars or more per pack, smoking’s up-front cost is obscenely expensive.

After a 20-plus year habit, I quit smoking in 1988. In 2002, I was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, and in October 2003, lost my larynx, thyroid gland and several lymph nodes, and I’m a lucky one: I’m still alive. I remember asking my oncologist why, if I had quit smoking 14 years earlier, cancer showed up now. “Cancer is very patient,” was all he said.

Hopefully, student smokers at Pacific have a habit far more easily broken than later in life. The proposed ban on smoking on campus is, I feel an opportunity for those who smoke to do the best thing they perhaps will ever do for themselves. Quit smoking. Seriously!

Marshall Brown is an alum of Pacific, class of ‘69. Also known as “Preacher,” Brown was Editor of The Pacific Index in 1968.

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