Editor, Daily Nexus,

We are all guilty of taking our friends for granted from time to time. It’s not often that people stop to tell their friends how grateful they are to have such great relationships with them. My best friend and I have grown together in many ways over the past seven years.

However, one thing manages to keep us apart in a way. She smokes, I don’t. When we go places, she wants me to stay with her outside when she needs to smoke and she takes offense when I don’t want to stay with her. I often feel like I have to choose between my friend and my health, which she does not understand.

At first I saw it as just a gross habit of hers, since she said she would quit after a couple months. It
has now become a part of who she is – with no signs of her quitting. It hurts to see people you care about bring such harm to themselves.

Furthermore, it angers me to think that my health is at risk when I’m around her because of her personal decision and her insisting on me waiting with her, while she smokes. It is important for smokers to understand the dangers of secondhand smoke because they often give excuses like, “I know its bad for me” or “I’m only hurting myself.” What they do not always think about is how they are harming people around them – people who are usually the people they care about most.

During the week of May 17, Student Health Services will be conducting its first annual Spring Cough-In Secondhand Smoke Campaign, creating awareness and sensitization to the fact that secondhand smoke surrounds and affects each and every one of us. This means it affects you, so keep your eyes peeled around the UCen Monday and Tuesday and the Arbor on Wednesday and Thursday. And remember, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.