We have just entered the best season of the year. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, prospective students are falling in love with the seemingly-perfect campus and, as a result, the student body as a whole are sporting smiles.

Among those are a small yet noticeable group of students at UR – the smokers.

Smokers at UR know how difficult it is to smoke during the winter.

You’re barely lighting the cigarette when you realize your fingers are not only numb, but beginning to develop acute frostbite. Now that spring is in full bloom, we have to deal with yet another group of people – the anti-smokers.

They stare, make faces and oftentimes cough even when I’m standing more than the required 30 feet from any building. Will it make me stop smoking? Absolutely not. I’ll probably end up taking out another cigarette and begin smoking that one.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know the dangers of smoking. I know that physically I am doing myself more harm than good. I am of legal age, and I think that at this point in my life, I can make my own decisions even if they’re not the smartest ones.

Recently, a good friend of mine pointed out that I was going to get cancer from smoking. Having heard this about a million times, I just smiled and nodded. A week later, there was my friend sporting a nice tan, something quite different from her normal, pasty, white self. I soon found out she decided to lay down in a tanning booth for 15 minutes in our very own Mane Attraction II.

Now, tanning booths have been under scrutiny for the last few years for being a leading cause of skin cancer. Yet we have two on our very own campus. You can even buy monthly passes for a quick session at the “cancer in a box.”

Smokers are a minority on this campus. We actually have to fend off the majority of the non-smokers nearly every time we light up.

But, then why aren’t those seeking artificial tans being reprimanded? More so, the university is providing them with their own method of developing cancer.

The university refuses to sell cigarettes on campus. Frankly, though a smoker, I support the idea of not providing cigarettes at UR.

We do have a beautiful campus, and there is no doubt that by selling them, it would tarnish the university. Health reasons also play a huge factor. It is known that cigarette smoking is unhealthy.

Yet tanning in a tanning booth is also dangerous. And worse, it can develop cancer quicker than smoking can.

Nevertheless, we do live in a free country and if students want to get a tan, then do so. Simply go off campus to get one, just like smokers have to go off campus to buy their beloved packs.

Buitrago can be reached at jbuitrago@campustimes.org.

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