College Follies of the Day, Part 1. Michigan State bans smoking in cars on public roads traversing the campus

The Regressive Leftist antics of colleges never cease to amaze me, and we have two today. (“Why do I post these?”, you ask. “To show you what students experience at institutions of higher education,” is my reponse.)

Today there are two follies, which I’ll recount briefly in two posts. The first, described by Michigan Capitol Confidential  (MCCand verified by the Lansing State Journal, describes a new no-tolerance smoking policy on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU).  Smoking is banned everywhere on campus, including outdoors, and “smoking” includes “vaping,” or using e-cigarettes. (I’m not quite sure if there are any dangers to others of using these, but of course they’re considered “gateway drugs”.)

Fine. Although smoking outdoors is unlikely to hurt anyone but the smoker, one can argue that it produces undesirable litter: cigarette butts. But(t) there’s one provision I consider ridiculous. As the MCC describes:

Beginning on Aug. 15, a new tobacco-free policy at Michigan State University will make drivers subject to a $150 fine for choosing to smoke or chew tobacco while traveling on public roads that cross the school’s East Lansing campus.

What? On public roads? And even if the roads weren’t public, what possible justification for this can there be? In fact, given that it’s legal to smoke in your vehicle on public roads elsewhere in Michigan, this “policy” is probably illegal.

To be sure, MSU adds that, well, they’re really not going to enforce it. To wit:

“There’s no directive to our police that this needs to be strictly enforced,” MSU spokesman Jason Cody said. “We are looking at it through an educational lens.”

Cody said he didn’t envision a police officer pulling over a motorist for smoking and giving a ticket. He did say he could see an officer on a bike telling a motorist who was smoking about the no-smoking ordinance.

The ordinance was passed by the board of trustees on June 17, 2015. Its effective date was set for more than a year later on Aug. 15, 2016.

“A new policy is an effective, cost-efficient way to protect the health of the campus community and encourage tobacco users to reduce or eliminate consumption, thus increasing life, longevity and vitality,” the MSU tobacco-free website states. “Most tobacco users want to quit, and tobacco-free environments encourage users to quit and help them maintain a tobacco and nicotine free status.”

Maybe they should stop people eating hamburgers or sugary sodas in their cars, too? After all, that policy would also “increase life, longevity, and vitality”. (It goes without saying that smoking in cars doesn’t endanger “the health of the campus community.”) In fact, why shouldn’t these Nanny Schools ban fatty food and non-diet sodas everywhere on campus, as they have smoking?

As for the “educational lens,” well, I doubt that there’s an American alive who isn’t already aware of the health dangers of smoking. Every pack of cigarettes has a warning label. The no-smoking-in-your-car policy isn’t going to spread that news any further.

h/t:  Amy Alkon


  1. Posted August 14, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    At the University of Texas you can’t smoke or vape on campus, but you can carry a firearm.

    • Dave
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      What about a “smoking gun?”

      • rickflick
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        If you kill someone with a gun, they write a ticket for $150.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          Does that apply if you beat someone to death with the gun and a box of bullets in a sock?

          • rickflick
            Posted August 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            No smoke, no foul. 😎

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        It should be a requirement to use only ‘smokeless’ powder.


  2. craigp
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I don’t entirely agree with “eating hamburgers or sugary sodas” being analogous with smoking in a car. The former doesn’t harm the health of anybody else in the car whereas I think we’d all agree the latter does. If the only occupant is the smoker/driver then that’s different.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Very true. I’d be fully behind banning smoking in any car where children are present for that very reason. and before I get attacked for being a fascist, I don’t care if adults smoke (well away from me; I even switch lanes to avoid smokers’ cars ahead of me) but I did have to watch my grandfather and great grandfather die slowly of emphysema and lung cancer, so it’s personal.

      What I don’t understand is the vaping ban. It doesn’t smell up the whole area like smoking, it just makes the user look like a tool. Although there might be some health issues, at least according to a BBC podcast, maybe the Science Hour, I can’t recall, that discussed the possible health issues with flavored vape (things? dunno what to call them) as the most common ingredient in them is the same as in microwave popcorn that causes “popcorn lung”, diacetyl. I don’t know of any studies that can back this up, but perhaps other readers have?

      • Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        I was talking about single individuals in cars. I don’t think you should be allowed to smoke with kids in cars (although what about in your home with kids?), and any decent person would ask before lighting up with another person in the car.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          I was talking about single individuals in cars.

          This is banned in Britain if the vehicle is a workspace (e.g. a taxi or work-owned delivery van), even if the driver is also the business owner and the oonly person who uses the vehicle. (I had this discussion a couple of weeks ago while hitch-hiking with a truck driver who leased his truck. His comment was “screw the law, have a fag, and don’t use Mercedes trucks because they’re unreliable.”)

          I don’t think you should be allowed to smoke with kids in cars

          The UK Health Nazis are certainly trying to get this banned. Points on license, lose driving license level of “banned”.

          (although what about in your home with kids?)

          The UK Health Nazis are trying to get this banned, though I’m not sure of the progress on this. Level three problem. (Not “big”, not “small”, but “someone else’s”.)

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I guess you are not joking. Too bad because the idea of the law in the first place is a joke.

      • Christopher
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        what part of my post bothers you? That I don’t think kids should have to inhale cigarette smoke or that gaping is kinda goofy, probably harmless, but needs more studies?

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          Look. I think parents should change the baby’s diaper when necessary to avoid rashes and they should know where the kid is instead of letting them run wild but do we have laws for all these things? And how would we enforce such laws. We already have laws, not to be on your smart phone while driving, not to text while driving but millions still do it. So you want to pass a law saying no smoking in the car if kids are in there and that is going to solve the problem? Or is it just to make you feel better?

          • Robert Bray
            Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            Well, if I can smell the wretched smoke, it’s in me; and a fortiori for kids inside a car. It’s not that a polity would be passing just one more law to be ignored: rather, making a formal statement that those who ignore it are doing something both legally and morally wrong.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 14, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          “gaping is kinda goofy”

          I don’t dare comment.

          Was that finger trouble or a hyperactive spellchecker?


      • craigp
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        You guessed correct 🙂

        Why is the idea of the law a joke? A lot of countries have banned smoking in the workplace. A lot of people would have called that law a joke before it was implemented, but now it would be considered crazy to allow smoking in the workplace. Here in the UK they’ve extended that law to include work vehicles. It would be very easy to extend it to all vehicles.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 14, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Smoking is illegal in workplaces in NZ, and that includes work vehicles, and I like the policy. It’s also illegal in all buildings with public access like shops, restaurants, malls, all government buildings etc.

          Also, smoking outside DOES harm someone besides the smoker if you’re within smelling distance.

          I agree with craigp that smoking in cars isn’t analogous to drinking sugary drinks etc. because drinking sugary drinks doesn’t affect anyone else in the car.

          I don’t think making it illegal to smoke in a car with children is the same as other parenting either. Smoking is a powerful addiction and an extra incentive not to do it is required. As the child of two parents who were heavy smokers (including during pregnancy) I sure as hell wish it had been the law when I was a kid. Even my constant vomiting whenever we went on car trips didn’t stop my father.

          Not having a cigarette is not easy to do – it’s an addiction more powerful than heroin, and many even deny that it’s bad for them. I know several who insist it’s done them no harm as they wheeze away. Every illness is blamed on something else and there’s never an acknowledgement that smoking might be the problem.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 14, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            I don’t smoke, never smoked, dislike it.

            HOWEVER, I just can’t see that someone smoking outdoors is ‘harming’ me. I may not like the smell, but there are innumerable other smells I don’t like either. Also noises. And people with piercings everywhere give me the shudders. But my dislike does not equate to ‘harm’.


            • Heather Hastie
              Posted August 14, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

              I don’t think it should be banned everywhere outdoors, but breathing in someone else’s cigarette smoke is bad for you. Second-hand smoke is recognized as a danger to health. It may not be as bad as indoors, but it’s bad nevertheless.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted August 14, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

                Making laws that are just about impossible to enforce make no sense either. Just because something is bad for people or offensive to you does not earn it a federal law. We can talk about really far out laws on smoking and smokers but lets have everyone carrying guns. This is close to insane to my understanding of common sense.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted August 14, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

                I said below that the law about not smoking while driving through the campus is a stupid idea. (Reply to Patrick, No 12.)

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted August 14, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

                Okay, I didn’t stop and scan everything said. I know smoking is bad. Part of the reason I quit several years ago. Anyone of my age has seen cigarettes go from smoke’em if you got’em to condemning smokers to some kind of tobacco hell. Could we ever hire enough police to actually regulate these things to satisfaction? We need to think real hard before passing more laws to regulate behavior because when you really look at, most the time it does not work.

                Besides, if it really makes sense to condemn the smoker and outlaw the whole business, it would take much less effort and make more sense to stop growing the product. But instead we subsidize the farmers to grow it and then make all kinds of laws to stop people smoking it.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted August 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

                I agree, though farmers of anything aren’t subsidized here. I suspect it’s a combination of a powerful tobacco lobby who are always ready to litigate and it being, after all, everyone’s right to smoke if they want to. The difference here is that most healthcare is paid for by the government so getting people to stop smoking saves them money in the long term. It adds a different dynamic into the situation. The government invests in several other prevention and screening programmes for the same reason.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:01 am | Permalink

              And people with piercings everywhere give me the shudders.

              To misquote Frank Zappa, “everywhere?”
              “Even … there?”
              “Doubly there.”

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 14, 2016 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

            When my mom was having us kids back in the ’50s, she got to be pretty chummy with the sweet old sawbones that was her obstetrician. The two of them would meet in his office after her examination to smoke a cigarette and swap pictures of their families.

            My, but the prevailing mores have changed, haven’t they?

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

              Was it Cicero? “Oh tempora, oh mores!”
              Bloody hell, it WAS Cicero! I’m going to have to work more on looking like an uneducated thug.

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted August 16, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

                Correction: it was “Oh tempura, Oh mores!” And tempura should be banned too — if not because it’s an unhealthy fried food then because when prepared and eaten by hakujin it’s racist cultural appropriation.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted August 16, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

                I’d heard of tempura, but wasn’t sure if it is a painting technique or a foodstuff. Now I know it’s deep-fried, but am still unsure whether it is a painting technique or a foodstuff. Or both.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted August 16, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

                (And you missed the line about morels. Which I blame on Brian Aldiss.)

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted August 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

              Ha ha! Similarly, my grandmother was advised to smoke by her doctor in the 50s to help her relax after a stressful day with the (seven) kids.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted August 16, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

                Certainly common in the 1930s. My gamekeeper friend of my youth, Sparrow, was advised to start smoking then by his doctor to improve his lungs after being gassed.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted August 16, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


        • Filippo
          Posted August 16, 2016 at 5:11 am | Permalink

          In 1980 in semi-rural East Tennessee I had a rather emergency appendectomy. After surgery I shared a room with a gentleman who rolled his own cigarettes. And, for the record, smoked them in the room. This apparently was OK with the hospital. I wrote a congenial note (I thought it better not to ask out loud within earshot of him) asking if I could get a non-smoking room.

    • peltonrandy
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      The analogy would also appear to fail because unlike smoking, eating your hamburger does not foul the air for those in the cars beside you when windows are rolled down.

      • Posted August 15, 2016 at 1:48 am | Permalink

        Yes, but your exhaust fumes do. Maybe we should outlaw non-electric cars.

        And perfume fouls the air, too. NO PERFUME IN ELEVATORS!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

          Yes no perfumes. I hate them because they seem worse than ever for causing allergies. And why do they put those smelly perfume counters right in the middle of the department store so you have no choice but to pass through them?

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            And why do they put those smelly perfume counters right in the middle of the department store so you have no choice but to pass through them?

            So you have no choice but to pass through them. This is design, not accident. You are not a person, nor eve a number, but a consuming unit.

            • Filippo
              Posted August 16, 2016 at 5:14 am | Permalink

              Yes, “Dear Valued Customer,” not valued flesh-and-blood human being, thus saith the Masters of Mankind.

    • eric
      Posted August 15, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      If you’re eating a burger while driving, your are increasing the statistical risk of death of the surrounding bystanders. Probably (though this is just a guess) by more than if you were smoking and driving, since juggling the burger and steering wheel is going to be a lot more distracting.

      I agree with Jerry that the driving part of this rule is really idiotic. Its already illegal to engage in significantly distracting behavior while driving (its reckless), and I don’t think smoking really goes above that bar, that it would need to be specifically added to the list of things you can’t do while driving. And frankly, if their goal is to educate, threatening criminal penalties is a terrible way to do it.

  3. Rob
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    How long before candy cigarettes are banned?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Some people think they should be. You can’t get them in NZ anymore. It’s about kids aping parents, thinking smoking makes them look cool and grownup, and muscle memory.

      I have no idea whether banning them has made a difference. There is a multi-party government effort to stop smoking completely here by 2025 which has been going on for some years. There are multiple ways this is being done, and it’s working.

  4. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    It’s seems strange to me that so many US schools have police, or even their own police force. Up here in British Columbia we just have security guards on university campus. Unarmed security guards. I’ve read that even some elementary schools and high schools have a police officer in the US, though I don’t know how widespread that is.

    Are there that many problems on schools?

    • Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      We have 50 full-time officers at the University of Chicago; I’m told that, after the city of Chicago, this is the biggest police force in Illinois (I don’t know if that’s true).

      • George
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        It used to be said that UCPD was the third biggest police force in Illinois after CPD and Illinois State Police. UofC says they have “approximately 100” cops. Some suburban and downstate departments are bigger. Aurora(pop: 198,000) is the second largest city in Illinois. Its police department has 289 sworn officers.

        The UCPD are not security guards. They are cops. By city ordnance, they have full police powers in the areas they patrol. They can arrest you. They patrol an area beyond campus:
        37th Street to 64th Street, and Cottage Grove Avenue to Lake Shore Drive.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        I think the reason for the police officers (which as I’ve said, we have in Ontario) is because the university is pretty much a small town with all its small town problems. I talked to a constable a couple weeks ago and he told me that most issues are between staff members. I found that amusing – people always assume the students are trouble (I never really do – most are polite – what are they going to do, drop the door on you?) but really it’s the staff members. I imagined people getting into a big fight over where to plant a flower.

        • George
          Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          University of Chicago is a special case. In the 1950s, as the neighborhood was “changing”, there was talking of moving the school to the suburbs. Instead, Hyde Park (the neighborhood the school is in) was turned into a fortress. The area was “urban renewed”. At one time there were over 50 bars on 55th Street (aka Garfield Blvd – the northern edge of the campus) between Cottage Grove Ave and Lake Michigan. That was reduced to two – Jimmy’s and the Cove. I was there from 1974-80. You knew the boundaries – do not go north of 47th St, west of Cottage Grove, south of 61st St. The campus area was (and still is) very heavily patrolled by UCPD.

          That has been changing. The high rise public housing projects along the Dan Ryan Expressway have been torn down. Gentrification is pushing north from Hyde Park/Kenwood and south from Chinatown. Chicago’s Chinatown – about four miles north of UofC, is booming.

          The UofC community is almost linked into the Loop. It is about as far from the Loop as Lakeview (area around Wrigley Field) is on the north side. The Obama Library in Jackson Park will accelerate this trend.

          And the low income black neighborhoods around Hyde Park are being depopulated. The Washington Park Community Area to the west of UofC has seen its population go from 57,000 in 1950 to less than 12,000 in 2010.

          South of UofC are Woodlawn and South Shore. Woodlawn’s population has gone from 82,000 to 23,000. South Shore from 80,000 to 50,000.

          What happened in Hyde Park is still controversial. UofC maintains it took steps for self preservation. Others object to the heavy hand the university imposed on the entire area. Hyde Park is now the model integrated community. No integration by class. Blacks living in Hyde Park are upper middle class and up.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Schools often have what are called “School Resource Officers”, (SRO)in high schools, and sometimes in elementary schools. I don’t know exactly why each district started to do this, and I was initially against it but it is helpful in dealing with fights, the occasional unruly parent, but most beneficial, I hope, in encouraging positive interactions between the police and the community. There have been some really bad experiences though; it takes the right cop to work a school. I’ve seen and worked alongside some very good ones who talk with kids who are having problems, joke with the kids, and basically act like an extra coach and counselor.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      We have special constables on campus at McMaster in Hamilton, Ontario. They have all the powers of police officers and are armed just as police officers.

      • Christopher
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        The SRO’s in schools are armed as well, and it took my a bit to get used to the idea of an armed officer in a high school or elementary school but it sure as hell beats having armed teachers or worse, armed students! It’s still a bit jarring.

      • Filippo
        Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        If I correctly recall, the Bertrand Russell archives are at McMaster.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          Yes I think you are correct.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    It is no wonder the right wingnuts constantly stomp on the left for, as they call it, overreach or over regulation, and beat this issue to death. Most of the time they are dead wrong, but this attempt to regulate people driving on public roads is giving them the ammo they can point to. I don’t mean real bullets I mean really stupid laws.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, they don’t like the “over-regulation,” especially when it constrains their ability to treat human beings merely and solely as “human capital” or “human resourcea.”

  6. Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Yes I understand the improvements that have been made in the lives of minorities, gays, and women, but I’m really beginning to look back on when I could go pretty much anywhere with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth, as the good old days.

    • Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Oh BTW I’m holding one in my profile pic. I imagine that profile image would be banned on college campuses.

      • Posted August 14, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        As it should be. Cigarette companies promoted their products by bribing movie stars to smoke on screen and in public, thus normalizing smoking. I don’t think you are a movie star, but you are still part of the problem

        • Pali
          Posted August 14, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          Let me get this straight: you think that colleges should ban art and/or other forms of expression that involve cigs?

          Do you recognize the line being crossed here, the precedent that such would set?

        • Posted August 15, 2016 at 1:50 am | Permalink

          Please apologize to Mr. Paps for saying he’s part of the problem. How is he part of the problem? He can be photographed any way he wants.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        If it’s a cigarette then it’s a microaggression. But if it’s a joint, then you’ll be hauled up in front of “the Committee” for cultural misappropriation.
        Oh, hang on – stick a wire in it and claim to be from New York?

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    The no smoking in your own car is ludicrous. I think that’s the perfect place for a smoker to smoke because he/she isn’t bothering anyone. I worked at a smoke free campus and it was good because it prevented hordes of people smoking in front of the building. Many people have breathing issues and walking through clouds of tobacco smoke can irritate their lungs. They tried to say people couldn’t smoke in their cars on the campus either at this place I worked at. I thought that was stupid – who cares if people smoke in their cars.

    • mordacious1
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      If the smoke stayed in their cars, it wouldn’t be a problem. It doesn’t.

      Tobacco smoke is an irritant, one whiff can give an asthmatic an attack which can result in them spending a few hours in the ER.

    • Scote
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Smokers in cars are a common cause of wild fires. Many, perhaps most, smokers see the world as their trash can, and many toss lit butts out of their moving cars.

  8. rickflick
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Once driving along I-84 with several of my relatives, my brother-in-law began to suffer a nicotine fit. I told him I would strongly prefer him not smoking in the car. When he began to scream bloody murder, I took an off-ramp and we waited while he paced around sucking on a Winston before we resumed our travels. Years later he died of emphysema.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been through the same thing with relatives.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      A young lady, a smoker, once accompanied me to my abode. We seemed to have a “hankerin'” for one another. She wanted to smoke a cigarette. Had it not been sprinkling I would have asked her as congenially and cheerily as possible if she would mind stepping just outside the abode to smoke, since I myself did not smoke and did not want the atmosphere of my domicile befouled. As it was sprinkling rain outside, I asked her if she would mind standing at the threshold of the door, so as to blow her smoke outside but at the same time neither get wet nor blow smoke inside the abode. Seemed a reasonable request to me – a win-win situation.

      Her reply was, “Why don’t you stand at the door, and I will stay seated inside on the couch and smoke?” A reasonable request were we at her abode; but not at mine.

      At that more tender and callow age, I was more willing to acquiesce to unreasonable requests/demands – especially from beguiling lassies – than I am now. Even so, she had crossed a line. I thought about it silently for an eternity (about 45 seconds0, weighing it in the balance, and told her that I did not think that that was right. In response, she said, “Well then, I think you should take me home,” which I did in a quite gentlemanly way. When we arrived at the immediate vicinity of her domicile, she proceeded to lay into me, among other beneficent sentiments calling me an “asshole,” which prompted me to loudly demand that she depart my car.

      A few years later I was at Arlington National Cemetery, with another beguiling lassie who smoked. She lit up. I thought to myself to the effect, “Here’s an opportunity for her to show me in what regard and with what respect she holds this place. She will either throw the butt down or she will hold onto it until she comes upon an appropriate place to dispose of it.” (She was one of these people who think it’s OK, while grocery shopping, to go ahead and get a soda out of the cooler and, while shopping, drink it before paying for it.) She threw her cigarette butt on the pathway there. I walked along with her for about ten seconds, calculating what I should do in response. I decided to go back and pick it up, and let the chips fall where they may. She could decline to say anything to me about it, and we would just rock along, eh? But no – she could not keep quiet about my retrieving her butt, eh? And so we had a nice, sweet, memorable back-and-forth discussion into the afternoon about that incident.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 16, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Nicotine addiction can dramatically influence mood and behavior. It can become unpleasant to those downwind. Oddly, I like the smell of tobacco from a distance, but I wouldn’t want to be a smoker, or to live with one.

  9. Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    You don’t need to worry about banning fatty foods and pop at least from these types. This group tends to be big into the Fat Acceptance and “Health at Every Size” movements where denial of obesity causing negative health outcomes is the mantra.

  10. DrBrydon
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I question whether MSU has the authority to regulate what happens in a car on public roads.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Here we have the latest recrudescence of the puritanical instinct that has plagued this continent off and on since colonists first began arriving on its shores en masse in the early 17th century (per Mencken’s definition of Puriitanism — “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”).

    • Posted August 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Studies show that smokers are not happy. They are more depressed than non-smokers, and they only enjoy smoking because it relieves their nicotine withdrawal.

      Banning all cigarettes would improve the happiness of the nation if their were a way of treating nicotine addiction, and prevention is better than withdrawal.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Look around: most people are miserable most of the time. (I figured out long ago that peace and happiness were not to be my eternal lot in life — but that, a long as I could get my hands on either one of ’em every once in awhile, I’d get by the best I can between high spots.)

        So, as long as they’re not scraping any skin off your ass, whaddya say we let folks pick their own forms of misery, huh?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          whaddya say we let folks pick their own forms of misery, huh?

          BURN the HERETIC!!

      • Pali
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        “and they only enjoy smoking because it relieves their nicotine withdrawal.”

        Citation please, because else I am calling bullshit.

      • JoanL
        Posted August 15, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        That’s not my experience. I’ve smoked for nearly 50 years and quit about 8 times during that period (once for 7 years). So I got past withdrawal. It was times of high stress that brought me back to smoking.

      • Jeremy Tarone
        Posted August 16, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Correlation is not causation. Perhaps the person smokes because they are not happy, rather than not being happy because they smoke. Self medicating is very common in people with depression, and the chosen medications are many, including tobacco.

        You might also find that without nicotine they become even more unhappy. Besides, it’s their body. I don’t want anyone telling me what I can or can not put in my body. Even if it’s not good for me. I’m not a child, I don’t care to be treated like one by my government.

  12. Patrick
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    As a MSU alumni, I tend to walk around campus frequently and have recently noted the smoke free campus signs. As a student I never minded the people who chose to smoke because they had to be 25 ft from any campus building. Nonetheless, to create a policy that involves targeting drivers who may choose to smoke on a public road that passes by campus is ridiculous…. it saddens me to see my Alma-mater make silly policies, but it could be worse….. they could be like the other colleges addressed on this site for limiting, if not, banning free speech.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s silly to have a law they can’t or won’t enforce. Why not just put up a sign saying something like, “We ask that you not smoke while driving through our campus. Thank you,” instead?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 14, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Yes, make it more about public awareness. You can’t smoke in front of the doors of buildings here and mostly that’s respected but ironically where I saw it violated was at the hospital right outside the door of where the breast cancer clinic is. Come on people, have a clue!

  13. Posted August 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    It is particularly stupid to make a law that
    you then state will not be enforced. Seems like an oxymoron.

  14. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    It goes without saying that smoking in cars doesn’t endanger “the health of the campus community.

    Depends on if they pick up passengers, and on uncertain risks from cancerogenous substances.

    Third hand smoke (nicotine smears) transfer enough nicotine that it can be measured by metabolites.

    “This toxic mix of thirdhand smoke contains cancer-causing substances, posing a potential health hazard to nonsmokers who are exposed to it, especially children.

    Studies show that thirdhand smoke clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces, even long after smoking has stopped. Infants, children and nonsmoking adults may be at risk of tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, ingest or touch substances containing thirdhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke is a relatively new concept, and researchers are still studying its possible dangers.”

    [ ]

    I can see that putting pressure on smokers to drive more sanitary cars could be “educational”. But it is not doing much to fix the problem.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Third hand smoke (nicotine smears) transfer enough nicotine that it can be measured by metabolites.

      And the relevance of this is?
      While nicotine is not the nicest of substances – you used to have to sign the Poisons Book to get it in pure form, I think for use to kill slugs in the kitchen garden – most of the harm ascribed to cigarettes is not from the nicotine but from the swarm of combustion by products – tars, carbon monoxide, etc – that come from burning the tobacco. The nicotine is an addictive drug that enables the toleration of the other products, but it’s not in itself particularly dangerous. It’s more dangerous than dihydrogen monoxide, but probably less dangerous than 1.5 bars partial pressure of oxygen at human physiological temperatures.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    “… or chewing tobacco …”


    “Excuse me, sir, I stopped you because you appeared to be chewing something”
    “It was gum”
    “In that case, sir, I will have to ask you to accompany me to the station for a mouth swab and chemical analysis…”


  16. peltonrandy
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Besides producing unwanted litter, smoking outdoor also fouls the air for anyone standing relatively near someone who is smoking. Some people may not be bothered much by the smell, but to some – such as myself – it is an extremely unpleasant smell, not unlike having to smell a bucket full of shit. I was recently at a drive-in eatery where it was necessary to keep the window down while we were eating. The person in the car next to us began smoking with their window down. Damn near ruined the entire meal for both myself and my wife.

  17. Posted August 15, 2016 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    I gather, then, that because some people object to smoking outdoors (noxious fumes that may bother a passerby for a few seconds, and creates litter in the form of butts), smoking in cars (pollutes air for other occupants, but also, even if you’re alone, pollutes the air if somebody drives by with a window open), and, of course, no smoking indoors or in workplaces, then why shouldn’t we ban smoking COMPLETELY?

    • craigp
      Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      I think most non-smokers, and even some smokers, would be happy with that although I don’t think it will happen and I’m not sure it’s necessary. With smoking being banned in an increasing number of spaces, various legislation mandating plain packing and health warnings, along with education campaigns informing us how much smoking is damaging peoples’ health and the associated costs to society smoking is gradually becoming more and more socially unacceptable. The number of smokers in most western countries has been dropping over recent decades. An outright ban might hasten that decline but it’s not necessary to ban it completely in my opinion. There will always be a hard core of smokers who won’t give up (until nature takes its course) but smoking will die out eventually anyway if current trends continue. In non-western countries it’s a different matter.

  18. barn owl
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    My childhood asthma has made a resurgence in middle age, so I’m not especially fond of breathing second-hand cigarette smoke (known allergen for me) while stopped in traffic, or while out running or walking. I don’t think smoking in cars should be banned or legislated, however. I train for 10Ks and half-marathons year-round, and it’s almost as bad to run past fast food restaurants as it is to breathe cigarette smoke from a a passing car. The fast food odors are more pervasive and prolonged, whereas the cigarette smoke is more toxic and allergenic, so I guess it’s a toss-up.

    Cigarette butts as litter really annoy me – apart from the obvious fire hazard, why do people think they biodegrade? There’s a left turn lane at a nearby intersection that’s controlled by a long-cycle light, and the concrete ditch alongside it is full of cigarette butts. One of these days I’ll take a photo.

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