Indoor Cigarette

As I was coming down the third floor stairs in the Meyer Library, I saw a guy leaving the lab wearing a leather jacket with a cigarette already in his mouth. It wasn’t lit–a lighter wasn’t even in his hands–but he was ready.

I gave him a look and he took it out of his mouth. I wasn’t really trying to give him a look, and I don’t really feel like my facial expression changed all that much. But it seems my thoughts were communicated anyways:

Quit being a poser.

Keep an eye out: I think the unlit cigarette might make a real comeback when we ban smoking.

Update:: The more I think about it, the more odd I find this whole thing. I don’t think my reaction was because of the cigarette so much as him removing it from his mouth.

Imagine James Dean averting his eyes, removing the cigarette, and looking contrite. That’s what I saw, and it caused some tingly cognitive dissonance. If he’d just kept on walking, I don’t think I’d have thought much of it.

5 thoughts on “Indoor Cigarette

  1. I think this is rather judgmental, and you obviously underestimate nicotine addiction. Sometimes before I go outside, I get my smoke ready, it’s not being a poser, it’s not being a show-off, it’s just getting ready to enjoy some sweet-sweet nicotine. Also, I don’t think you would have thought the same thing if you saw a sorority girl with a smoke in her mouth, getting ready to go out. If the guy took it out of his mouth, it was probably either on his own volition, or he’s embarrassed by the habit in general. Probably not because you gave him a “look.”

    Also, you have to remember that even if the campus goes smoke free, they are a state institute, and required to have places for their employees to smoke, which is why I am glad that I have two campus jobs.



    1. You make a good point about the draw of addiction–it’s not something I had considered.

      If it were a girl, I’d have thought the same thing, coupled with a instinctual reaction I have that smoking = unattractive.

      I don’t know much about the legal requirements in regards to smokers at public institutions, but it seems that we’re not required to have places for employees to smoke per Northwest’s incoming ban (August 2010). There is a presumably nationwide list of smoke free campuses on

      All-in-all, I was a bit ashamed at my reaction. There was just something about it all that struck me as comical and out of place. Hopefully, as you say, my look/expression didn’t communicate anything, but the thought was definitely there.


    1. I’m not familiar with them and I’m not part of the committee(s) discussing this matter, but if they produce carcinogenic smoke, then I’d expect so. It’s being pushed as a health issue, if I understand correctly.


  2. Hm, you might be right about smoking being banned, even if it’s a state institution. I don’t know. I don’t consider smoking unattractive. In fact, I find it very attractive. I don’t think that smokers should be looked down upon. I don’t talk on my cell phone while driving, because I think that is more likely to kill me in my immediate future, but I don’t tell people that they can’t. If you can handle talking and driving, more power to you, but you know that it might kill you.

    I think the smoking ban is unfair, obviously, especially because any committees that they have won’t have an even number of smoking representatives, ever.

    But it doesn’t matter to me, I live close to campus anyway, and if I want to smoke while at school, I’ll just walk across the road.


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