College campus smoking ban: this nonsmoker not so sure

By Brittany Lavin
March 22, 2007

Kandace Keefer

For every eight smokers that tobacco kills one non-smoker is also killed, according to the American Lung Association.

This is a startling statistic that really makes you wonder how much smoke you are exposed to per day. It’s also probably the reason that 43 college campuses have gone smoke-free.

As a non-smoker, I know the dangers that smoking can cause both first-hand and second-hand. However, I also know that it is an addictive habit and is not easily broken.

With that said, I think I can safely say that I am on the fence about this decision. As a non-smoker, I see the positive effect it could have on the environment and our overall health. But as a friend of people who do smoke, I also see the problems it could cause on a college campus where 31 percent of full-time students smoke.

Besides the obvious positive effects, I understand why a smoking ban would benefit a college campus. It could be just the thing to encourage college students to quit smoking. However, there is a definitive difference between encouragement and force.

“Smokers still will have rights, but just not on our campus,” Chuck Kupchella, president of the University of North Dakota, said in an article for USA Today.

This is the type of statement that could cause problems on a college campus. Taking away a person’s rights, especially in our country, is like stripping them of their identity. Smoking doesn’t define who a person is, but it is a choice that everyone is free to make for themselves.

I choose not to smoke, but those who choose to are adults and are aware of the risks. I think that it’s one thing to ban smoking in restaurants and department stores because they are places that most people spend two or three hours in. However, it’s quite another thing to ban smoking on college campuses where most full-time students sleep, stress and study.

A college campus can be considered a student’s home for the academic year. I think it would be unfair to force student smokers to leave their homes to have a cigarette. I think that the best way to decrease the amount of secondhand smoke that nonsmokers are exposed to would be to designate particular areas on campus for those who choose to smoke.

While I think that it’s good and even admirable to encourage students to quit smoking for the betterment of their health, I don’t think that it’s right to take away someone’s personal liberties.

I haven’t heard any news about the smoking ban taking effect at Cabrini, but I’m sure that a debate on the matter isn’t far off.

Brittany Lavin

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