about the tragic
Ganuna Delta fraternity fire, I became increasingly angry. David Brown and Carolyn Edy admit that the fire was probably caused by a cigarette and go on to review the costs of"the most effective changes- sprinklers, central alanns, and in many cases structural upgrades"-with a potential statewide price tag of$55 mil- lion. Thanassis Cambanis remembered the "countless numbers of us have flicked a cigarette butt into a comer," as he tried to come to grips with an inferno too close to home. Douglas Dibbert recalled other senseless deaths and briefly mentioned "educational efforts about cigarettes and alcohol." Is it because I am a pediatrician that he answer to preventing such tragedies eems so obvious? It is time for Carolina to become smoke free. Any fireman can tell you that the most common cause of house fires is cigarettes. Now there is clear evidence for the addictiveness of cigarettes, for their causation of disease, and for the profound effects ofsecondary smoking.
One of these secondary effects is death by
fire. It happened on Mother's Day at UNC.
Carolina is the University of a state
whose economy has long been dependent
upon tobacco. But is it so obligated to
financial SUppOlt from the tobacco industry
that it will allow its students to be killed?
Should not UNC, as an institution of
higher education, take responsibility for
its students' health and safety? If "smoke-
free" irreconcilably clashes with "smokers'
rights," then consider building areas in
which smoking is permitted. Spend the
money to make these few "havens" appro-
priate fOltresses with inflammable materials
and million-dollar splinkler systems. And
consider asking for the money to aml iliem
from the people who want smoking to
continue in predominantly 1S- to 22-year-
old college students.
Incidentally, I was a three-pack-a-day
smoker ilirough my junior year at Carolina.
The environment encouraged it. But per-
haps in two decades ilie student population,
their parents and UNC administrators have
become wiser. I pray for it. It would be a
living tribute to the five young men and
women who lost their lives for no good
reason, to know that they inspired real
Susan V. Lipton ' 76 ('SO MD)
letter is in response to the article
"Tippling the Balance," which appeared
in the September/ October issue of the
As a recent graduate, I find myself of
two minds upon reading David Brown's
alticle. On the one hand, as someone who
abstained from binge drinking during his
undergraduate years, I tend to look askance
at that practice and would like to see its
decline. On the other hand, I find the latest
hubbub about student drinking riddled
with confusion, ambiguity and lacking in
potential for proactive change. Unfortu-
nately, Mr. Brown's article only contributes
to this state of affairs.
From this article, we are to believe that
student drinking has reached such propor-
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