Smoking ban necessary for the university’s wellbeing
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 21:10
So I hear the university is thinking about outlawing smoking on campus, to which I say: it’s about time. Smoking is gross, and it will be nice to be able to walk down The Green without getting stuck behind someone puffing away, releasing toxins into the air.
I hate accidentally inhaling a lungful of cigarette smoke. It’s disgusting and completely unhealthy. Fortunately, the majority of college students here do not smoke and are aware of how deadly it can be. I’ve been taught the dangers of smoking since at least fourth grade, and I think just about everyone now knows that smoking can kill you. This isn’t the ‘50s anymore. It’s a fact that smoking is deadly, not just to the smoker but to anyone who inhales second-hand smoke as well.
And yet, people continue to use cigarettes. To them, I have only one thing to say: why? Aren’t you worried about the fact that you are literally paying to damage your health, as well as the health of everyone around you? Smoking rots your teeth and can give you cancer. I don’t think this is news to anyone.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, a Norweigian politician, once said, “A cigarette is the only consumer product which when used as directed kills its consumer.” This is true. So why do people smoke? I have no idea, but it’s a shame.
I urge people to put down the cigarettes and to think about their health. Aside from the health risks, cigarette smoking is a very expensive habit, especially in Delaware. A 2008 Forbes study found that Delawareans smoke more than in any other state, with each smoker spending about $1,000 per year. So clearly, it’s a bigger issue here than in other places.
I fully support the Student Government Association working with the university to propose a smoking ban on campus. The odor is foul and leaves me choking. I try to hold my breath when I pass by a smoker. Of course, I still end up breathing in smoke at times.
A smoking ban would allow people like me to breathe in cleaner air, to not have to worry when walking past a smoker. You might protest this ban by saying, “But we have limits already on smoking around buildings.” Well, I think it’s pretty clear that no one follows them. People smoke right outside buildings without a care.
What about the current smokers who would be affected by the ban? The university could establish one or two “smoking zones” on campus where smokers could go to get their nicotine fix. These “smoking zones” should be placed in out-of-the-way places, such as areas that aren’t frequently trafficked. In addition, people can always smoke on Main Street or somewhere else off university property. I understand that people cannot just quit at the drop of a hat, hence my proposed designated areas.
Would this be inconvenient for some people? Probably. But isn’t that better than unintentionally punishing the majority of people who don’t smoke and that are potentially grossed out by it? Plus, what about asthmatics or smoke-sensitive individuals who really can’t breathe in smoke? Wouldn’t they be better off with a smoke-free campus?
I think that campus police should enforce the policy by giving tickets (or at least warnings) to violators. They should not be big fines, but a monetary punishment of any sort would discourage some people.
Smoking is a choice. Just because people choose to smoke, to poison their bodies and the air around them, it doesn’t mean they should get any special privileges. If the university makes it illegal to smoke on campus, perhaps some people will quit. Yes, some will try to break the rule, as there are always lawbreakers, but others will benefit. This includes some smokers who decide to drop habit because of the cigarette-ban making smoking inconvenient for them.
This opinion may seem harsh and it will not be popular among smokers. But I firmly support a smoke-free university. It’s healthier and simply more pleasant.
A number of colleges have already banned smoking on their campus—Towson, Indiana, Florida and every university in Iowa, to name a few. Delaware should be next.