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Second-hand smoke is no joke

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, September 27, 2009

I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed by Brandie Ecker of Pasquerilla West in her recent Letter to the Editor, “My right to clean air” (Sept. 24). She speaks for all of us when she says, “I, for one, do not wish to die of cancer in the future.” Yet I submit that she has only scratched the surface in requesting a campus-wide smoking ban; the University has been woefully negligent in preventing the spread of cancer from sources even more deadly than outdoor second-hand smoke.

First and foremost, Fr. Jenkins must act now to implement an outright ban on the sucking of tailpipes, which emit dangerous exhaust fumes. The next logical step is the immediate demolition of all laboratory materials, waste and personnel of the Radiological Research Center, which the Vietnam War-supporting administration cleverly sandwiched between all the other non-descript buildings of Library Quad in the 1960s.

Additionally, the purification of our campus’ most vital and least-used natural resource is long overdue. The addition of 239.85 pounds of Cyanuric Acid stabilizer to St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s Lakes would bring that long-stagnant water from the incredibly hazardous level of 15 PPM Cyanuric Acid to the relatively safe level of 999 PPM.

Once these initial steps have been taken, the University needs to protect students from skin cancer, which recently surpassed even outdoor second-hand smoke in the World Health Organization’s annual Cancer Lethality Charts. I propose the distribution and mandatory use of adult-sized, UV-protective, breathable hamster balls for all members of the Notre Dame family.

Importantly, this bold initiative for student safety can be paid for without an increase in tuition to families who make under $250,000 or a dip into the University’s vast, vast reserves of cash and priceless artifacts. That’s because it respects the right to choose: those students and alumni who decline the health benefits of the hamster ball may buy-out for the cost of their Notre Dame degree.

As that 20th-century titan of industry C. Montgomery Burns famously said, “Mankind has always dreamed of destroying the sun.” In order to expedite the conversion of that dream to reality, the University of Notre Dame needs to take a leading role in the age-old war between man and nature. The time is now. What would you fight for?

Tom Dybicz


off campus

Sept. 24