Stadiums should allow fans a smoking section


Beside the noise, the teams and the replays, the great outdoors is  one of the best parts of a football or baseball game. Fans get to enjoy the weather and the environment when attending a game in an outdoor stadium.

When the weather turns cold, fans bundle up, as do the players. When it is cold, the cheers are different than when it is hot; when it’s rainy, the plays are different than when it’s dry. Outdoor games allow fans to enjoy the full experience of modern sports.

Fans can enjoy a hotdog, a beer and every other kind of over-priced treat at a game, but they cannot continue their daily routine of smoking a cigarette when the urge arises.

Most stadiums in the U.S. ban smoking, even outdoor stadiums, the most recent being the University of Tennessee, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. The Tennessee state legislature passed the Non-Smokers Protection Act in 2007, which banned smoking in almost all public places.

I understand that supporters of such a smoking ban are concerned about the health of non-smokers, but the danger of second-hand smoke seems minute when outside. The Volunteers’ Neyland Stadium had allowed smoking in specific parts of the facility in the past, but the state smoking ban ended that practice, according to the News Sentinel.

I don’t like to sit next to someone who reeks of stale smoke, and I am not a smoker, so it is nice to be able to enjoy a meal or a baseball game without having smoke blown in my face. But someone lighting up on the other side of the field, in a smoking section, does not bother me.

Aren’t smokers encouraged to take their vice outside? Isn’t outside the best place for someone to smoke, better than a classroom or a restaurant? An absolute ban on smoking will never work, and it is just unfair.

In many restaurants, patrons are fairly close to smokers and their cigarettes, so a smoking section might do little to keep the two separate. But in a baseball stadium, fans are in just as much danger of inhaling smoke as they are any other time they are outside.

I agree it is rude and dangerous to allow smokers to do their deed around non-smokers, including children, but I don’t see the hazard in allowing smokers to have their own section. If lighting up is so important, they can sacrifice the good seats for a chance to smoke.

Smoking ordinances and laws should be enacted to protect the people of a city or state, but they must also be reasonable. We can’t tell smokers to “take it outside,” and then try to take the outside from them — especially at sporting events that take place almost always outside.

Owen Kennedy is a senior in management. Please send comments to