I am a huge sports fan, and I always try to keep a keen eye on the game. But at the last home football game against BYU, I wasn’t able to cheer the Horned Frogs out of a deficit, because I couldn’t take my eye off of what was going on next to me – people smoking.The smoking continued as I expected a security officer to come stop the man who – from what I could see – didn’t even have to be in the disabled section where I was sitting. After no one approached, I went back to the gate and questioned the security officer. The officer told me it was legal and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Having heard TCU call itself a smoke-free campus, I was fairly certain the officer’s explanation was not true, but I was stuck, and with a scooter, extremely limited in my seating choices. If you didn’t read my column last November, TCU’s disabled seating consists of two, roughly 20-foot long spaces in the north end zone, probably only long enough to fit five wheelchairs and is in severe need of an upgrade.
After I returned to my spot, which I had arrived early to secure, the situation only worsened as the man on the other side of me started smoking. That was too much for me and I gave up my front seat, as there are usually enough people to fill two rows, and ended up on the second row down the way. Being only about 5’0″ tall and not able to see over other people’s heads, my view was restricted to what I could see between heads.
According to the University of Minnesota Division of Periodontology, second-hand smoke ranks third among causes of preventable premature death, and 85 percent of cigarette smoke is second-hand, meaning it is never inhaled but released into the air. Second-hand smoke is blamed for 3,000 lung cancer deaths a year in nonsmokers and increases the risk of diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis, especially in children, according to a report on lungusa.org.
But why does second-hand smoking happen in the first place?
Associate Athletic Director Ross Bailey said smoking is not supposed to be allowed in the stadium, and he has seen too much smoking for his liking. He said smoking should only be permitted in the far back of the end zones if absolutely necessary. A committee of people from various departments meets before every home game to discuss stadium policy on issues such as smoking.
If the stadium is meant to be smoke-free, why is any discussion necessary?
Fans need to know what the rules are and security officials need to enforce them at the gate.
“No Smoking” signs need to be visible at every gate. If someone needs to smoke, they must not only leave their seat, but be asked to leave the stadium for the time being. As a sophomore, I have attended almost every TCU football game in the past two years, and I have never seen a sign.
Michelle Nicoud is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Dallas.