Fred Wu smoking bill just looking for attention

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Council votes students should decide”
Nov. 23, 2007

To the editor:
Exam time is stressful and students are busy, so I thought I would give the USC Elections Committee a helping hand in drafting the potential plebiscite question regarding the sale of cigarettes at Mustang Alley:

“Should the USC take a paternalistic role and ban a legal activity that involves a choice made by rational, autonomous adults?”

And as an aside, I don’t find Geoff Zeni’s equating the sale of cigarettes to handguns in the UCC particularly convincing. While both items are harmful, the sale of one is legal " the sale of the other is not. And I won’t even bother addressing the functional difference between the two.

The crux of the argument seems to be the USC should not be profiting from an unhealthy activity. But without guidance as to just how unhealthy we’re talking, the Elections Committee should go ahead and draft a similar motion to ban the sale of alcohol in the Wave and Spoke. Surely, Fred Wu and the gang wouldn’t want the USC to profit from my hangover, what with the puking, dehydration and possible STI.

The harmful effects of cigarettes are clear, which is why I personally do not smoke. That other students do is a sign of their own choices and lifestyle, which they have every right to exercise in this country.

Unless Mr. Wu could prove to me the sale of cigarettes at Mustang Alley actually increases the number of smokers on campus, I have little reason to believe his initiative would achieve anything positive in the way of health.

As for the moral argument: what is immoral about allowing adults to determine which legal substances go into their own bodies?

Please, USC: I don’t need another parent.
"Christopher Crighton
Law I

To the editor:
Discontinuing the sale of cigarettes at Mustang Alley doesn’t “promote a healthy environment” " it just makes people have to go to different places for their smokes. The walk would probably kill them!

If the USC was really concerned about a healthy environment it would also be nailing fast food places for fatty foods and lowering the prices of the healthier choices ($6 for a boxed salad is good eating).

That is, when Centrespot isn’t trying to poison us...

If people want to buy smokes, more power to them, I hope they cough their way to nicotine-fueled bliss. It brings revenue to our store, provides employment to students and, as Mr. Singh pointed out very astutely, brings in residual sales. People who buy smokes also buy other things while they’re there! Nothing like a Red Bull to wash down the lung cancer!

While I commend Fred Wu’s desire to see campus become smoke-free, arguments like Zeni’s “handguns = death ... and cigarettes = death” only make them sound like idiots. Governing bodies don’t have to hold our hands like a nanny and keep us safe from harm.

If people want to light up, let them blow their $7.50+ per pack in peace. Some student is getting their USC services in Marlboro miles.

Just do it over there " no, farther away " downwind, preferably.
"Matthew Cloutier
Science II

To the editor:
First of all, by eliminating sales of tobacco in Mustang Alley, you will decrease its profits by nearly 50 per cent. As the article states, “Wu felt the profits should not factor heavily into the decision.” When you are a new USC councillor trying to get attention any way possible, this certainly holds true.

But for the real, non-USC world, money is everything. When a product generates as much revenue as cigarettes, as a business decision it makes no sense to discontinue sales. Wu makes no effort to even offer an alternative source of income. Instead, “management should worry about any possible changes to the operations of the business.”

Consider what happens if Wu gets his way and cigarettes are out of Mustang Alley ... in reality, nothing at all. If Mustang Alley stops selling cigarettes, smokers will buy cigarettes elsewhere.

You will have taken money right out of the USC’s pockets and put it into Mac’s, other convenience stores and gas stations to “improve student health.”

People will not stop smoking because they cannot buy cigarettes in Mustang Alley. Besides, I doubt very many people will try their first cigarette because they walked into the Alley and thought it would be a good idea to buy a pack. They could do the same thing at the PetroCanada at the end of their street.

Unlike Wu, I will offer a few suggestions on actually improving student health.

You can’t just force people to not buy cigarettes. No government has the right to legislate morality, as USC President Tom Stevenson acknowledges. A better idea would be to work with Student Health Services or the Middlesex-London Health Unit and create a group that helps students quit smoking.

Leave the Pack Behind already exists, yet I had to ask a friend to figure out its name. This proves there might be a need for better advertisement or better funding of such groups.

You could even go inside the USC and give some work to the HYPE team " apparently they need some! That way everyone wins. Or, instead of being negative and getting rid of cigarettes, you could be positive and promote nicotine patch and gum sales (as the previous editorial suggested)!

Instead, the USC is now going to have to waste more time and money on a student vote. Congratulations Fred Wu " at least everyone knows your name.
"Michael Louis Schwatz
Genetics III

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