(Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

January 26, 1998


Crackdown leaves ex-smoker gasping

Tattoo Staff Writer

Exiting my English classroom recently, I turned
a corner and started to go upstairs to my next
class when I hit a pocket of stale cigarette
smoke, lingering from lunch.

This tasty leftover sent me coughing as I tried
to expel the poison from my lungs.

This has become a daily occurrence for me
because of the smoking habit that has gripped
seemingly more than half the population of
Bristol Eastern High School.

From what I can see, the number of student
smokers is significantly rising in Bristol's
high schools. What was once a small fad of
smokers congregating to suck their cancer sticks
for the day has grown to a mob of moody
teenagers who will stop at nothing to get their

Now even though I disagree with teen smoking, I
understand it, having once been a smoker. But
even in my smoking days, I wouldn't have
resorted to some of the tactics youths are using
today in order to smoke.

Not long ago, students at Eastern could smoke in
a designated corner of the parking lot because
administrators and teachers looked the other
way. The school by no means condoned it, but it
kept the smoke out of the building.

At the start of this school year, however, that
"corner" was abolished.

Suddenly, smoking on or in the near vicinity
before or after school hours was prohibited. How
is this enforced? By the strategic placing of
the school trolls with walkie talkies to catch
unruly perpetrators.

Now some think the problem was solved -- the
school is patrolled and the kids are under
strict watch. No more smoking, right? Well this
plan might have worked, but the stalked
outsmarted the stalkers.

Since the death of the corner, the smokers at
Eastern put their heads together and found ways
to trick, run away from and, for lack of a
better term, show up the clan of stalking walkie

Since the beginning of the school year, I have
witnessed acts of sheer desperation from my
fellow classmates craving a cigarette.

One day while walking back from lunch, I caught
a whiff of cigarette smoke. Looking around, I
saw two friends of mine strolling down the
school hallway, smoking in plain sight!

If this doesn't show pure need or stupidity
(depending on your opinion) then I don't know
what does.

School administrators have to think twice about
resurrecting the corner or, I believe, there
will be problems.

When kids resort to smoking in the middle of
wide open hallways, a compromise has to be
arranged for the sanity of those who do smoke
and the consideration of those who don't.

I believe we had a compromise before this year.

Even though a few people sneaked smokes during
school, outward acts of desperation were never
shown like they have of late.

The smoking population is calling out at Bristol
Eastern High School or a little leeway.

Now the question is: Will the people in charge
answer the cry with a compromise?