’Sin tax’ unholy

I would like to make an open apology. With my nasty habit, I have at last managed to offend enough people to be cast to the other side of an imaginary line, 25 feet from any college building. Shall I stand downwind, as well?

Daily do I infringe upon not only the nostrils, but the physical health of the members of my community, and it troubles and shames me. I pride myself on trying to live a cruelty-free existence. I buy cage-free eggs, and I don’t kill spiders. My conscience forbids me to leave less than a proper tip at a restaurant.

I deny that half my wardrobe is made by poor children in sweatshops. I still buy Coca-Cola, even though their actions worldwide, I learned from a flyer, are despicable. I buy more gasoline than I should, supporting the very humans across the globe that I’m supposed to hate. I say I like paintings, but I have yet to visit the Clark. I claim to be anti-war, but I haven’t been to a protest; in fact, I don’t think I’ve caused an iota of change to the President’s outlook on Iraq.

Mass injustice occurs by my hand every day, and I have the nerve to contribute to the cause of 52,000 secondhand-smoke deaths per year? I’m either evil or insane. Either way, I apologize; it’s my fault, I can’t deny it, so I’ll take my share of the blame. The other six smokers I’m sure will do the same. We didn’t mean to hurt you.

I hope the policy confirms Williams as the first choice of enough nonsmoking pre-frosh to finally rid the College of this parasite to public health. At last, the administration is invoking real change, making a tangible difference in the life of every individual on campus. And I’m glad the inconsistency in the fire code was cleared up. Clearly, it is contradictory to allow cigarettes but prohibit candles. I’m grateful the college is spending a little more money to build outdoor enclosures. They might even bring in a profit, with the extra income from additional cigarette fines. Congratulations to the College for finding a way to levy a sin tax.

To all those who think another tax will help smokers quit: Your idealism is commendable. But I’m going to pollute your air tomorrow and the next day. I’ll feel better as soon as I recycle a few more bottles and cans this week. Maybe somebody has a petition I can sign to get somebody else to clean up an oil spill somewhere. The next “quit smoking” pamphlet I’m handed is going right on my refrigerator. I promise. I’ll be a better person.

I’ll return the pair of pants I bought from the Gap last month. My SU box told me my secondhand smoke has gas chamber poison in it; clearly the community has borne us Nazis too long. The rest of the world naively tolerates smokers standing four, even three feet from buildings. But we’re too smart for that.


Michael Chaberski ’05

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