Sunday 19 December 2010

I didn't do it

I had nothing to do with this, other than taking the picture outside the campus library Thursday afternoon. Nor do I condone graffiti or vandalism of university property. And neither would I ever endorse or encourage it.

But this did make me smile yesterday (though this would perhaps have been more appropriate).

I rather doubt that this will lead to any substantial student protests - folks in Guy Fawkes garb and stogies on the quad, for example. Smoker numbers in the designated smoking areas always seemed rather low. And a good fraction of those smokers are international students who might be reticent to get involved in student protest. And while I wonder about the elasticity of smoker versus non-smoker enrollment to university smoking policies, I'd be surprised if it were terribly high in either case.


  1. If you could stop people's farts from smelling, wouldn't you?

  2. Not if the solution involved banning folks from eating cabbage (where some folks really like cabbage). Instead, the solution ought be the same as the sensible one for smoking at uni: refrain while indoors, refrain while among groups outdoors, and let social sanction handle things in open spaces.

  3. But isnt this just a form of social sanction?

    In fact, it is likely to just flip the social sanction on its head. Now it isnt the smoker who has to adjust their behaviour based on social pressures (i.e. not smoke to avoid being thought an asshole). Instead it is non-smokers who have to adjust their behaviour based on (I would argue) more powerful social pressures (i.e. dont be the nork that complains about the guy smoking in the breezy, open park).

    Now instead of non-smokers having to put up with smoke, its the smokers that have to put up with not smoking.

  4. I'm Coasean on this. The externally is reciprocal and ideally is dealt with by property rights. I think the university has gone overboard here ... smoking was only allowed where it would have pretty much no effect on others...

  5. We've now had a smoke free campus for a year. On some days you now have to walk a gauntlet of smokers along the street, not to mention all the butts now being thrown into the gutter - this in contrast to people previously smoking in a discrete, purpose-built hut with bins. There are some bins near the street but they've had bits of plate metal riveted over their ashtrays Smoking more visible: check. Increase in passive smoking: check. Increase in cigarette butts on the ground: check.