By Josh Kurp
There’s been a lot of talk about regulating smoking in the Vera List Courtyard. But it’s not 1943. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. That’s why you can’t do it in offices, restaurants, and even bars. But why should this ban extend to an area that’s technically outdoors?
Eric Garrison, The New School’s Health Educator, told Inprint that students are complaining of the offensive smokiness in the courtyard and that because of more and more outbreaks of “HPV, genital warts, asthma,” these students “don’t want to be around smoke.” The last time I checked, I didn’t see a perpetual layer of smoke hovering over the courtyard. Smokers know the risks and, just like having sex, it’s a personal choice. And for you non-smokers worried about “secondhand smoke,” I say: Don’t stand near the smokers!
The major issue is this: Where would the smokers go to smoke? Let’s say during the normal between-class rush, there are roughly 60 people in the courtyard. So, in addition to the people who already smoke outside by the street, do we really want 60 extra people clogging the doors and sidewalks? Plus, let’s also remember that the students would have to be 20 feet away from the school so they’d either have to move across the street or move down the sidewalk. The only person or place that would benefit from this would be Murray’s Bagels.
The other option is to split the courtyard into smoking and nonsmoking sections. This would basically amount to herding smokers into a pen like cattle. And it wouldn’t work. If the courtyard were divided into sections, the non-smokers would still migrate over to the smokers because that’s how being social works.
This is New York City and if we can’t smoke outdoors in a city famous for its smokers (Humphrey Bogart and Groucho Marx chief among them), where else can we?
Monday, November 27, 2006
By Josh Kurp