Second-classed smokers

There is Alianza Latina, the Asian American Student Union, the Black Student Union, Free 2 Be, Hillel, the Muslim Student association and even a white student support group that had a brief stint, but there is still one demographic that suffers from discrimination in silence: smokers. I’m not talking about marijuana — God knows UVM doesn’t need any help accepting that.  I’m talking about cigarettes.  Nicotine lovers across Campus and across the United States are treated like second-class citizens.  They are routinely and rudely relegated to the bitter cold to enjoy their smokes, and you can’t buy a pack of cigarettes anywhere on campus. I’m not a smoker, but I know injustice when I see it. Of course, we don’t want to encourage the nasty habit, but there are a million bad habits — who are we to pick out smokers and decide that it is our job to punish them. What if we told fast-food lovers that they could only eat their artery-clogging obesity, boosting burgers outside?  Oh, you bite your nails? There’s an ordinance against that. As soon as you substitute any other bad habit it sounds completely ridiculous. The University could make a killing — oh, excuse me — a large sum of money selling cigarettes.  We have a Ben and Jerry’s, and selling candy bars and soda is fine, but somewhere we decided to arbitrarily draw the line at cigarettes? Of course there is the second-hand smoke argument.  But we could accommodate smokers with a smoking lounge in the Davis Center with proper ventilation.  I know, I know, Max, where are we going to get the money for a smoking lounge? I don’t know, how about the same place we got the money to install separate transgender bathrooms with showers, or the color-changing lights in the Tunnel, or the seasonal affective disorder lamps that were temporarily installed on the fourth floor until it was made aware that they presented a health hazard; maybe we could get the funding from all the money that the bookstore makes from overcharging on textbooks, or maybe, just maybe, we could use some of all that money that we would make by selling cigarettes.