On February 26 the Student Government Association held a topic discussion on whether or not smoking on campus should be banned. Although the faculty voted unanimously for a smoke/tobacco free campus, students were split on the decision.
According to a group known as Americans for Nonsmokers’ rights, as of January 2 1,182 college campuses and universities have adopted smoke-free policies.
Smoking is an activity that society has already accepted or known to be self-harm. Smokers understand that smoking can lead to dangerous consequences such as cancer, stroke, or heart disease. Even with the health risk, smoking is still a legal right that all Americans have the right to do. Banning smoking from college campuses is not going to stop student or facility from smoking in general. If the campus is worried about the health affects smoking may have among other students on campus, then they should designate and enforce smoking locations that follow city ordnances. According to city ordinance, smoking should take place at a minimum of 10 feet away from the doors of a building or a walkway.
School policies should not have the right to try and stop student and facility members from participating in a common legal activity.
For some smokers, it is more than just a hobby: it’s a nicotine addiction. Just like some students need their Monster or Five-Hour Energy Shot, some smokers need to have their nicotine fix. College classes can be stressful and students should have a right to take a smoke break in between, before, or after classes.
When comprehensive smoking bans hit Corpus Christi, some business owners compromised in order to not lose customers. Most bars created designated patio areas or outdoor smoking areas where smokers could enjoy smoking without having conflict. To automatically ban smoking from campus without offering solutions or compromises with smokers would be unreasonable.
If our college did decide to pass a ban on smoking, what kind of punishments would take place with violators? Would campus security services be able to cite every student or faculty member that is found with a cigarette in hand? This would not be worth the time of college officials and it would be hard to enforce on everyone.
It is understandable that the SGA and others at Del Mar are concerned for the health risk of smokers as well as non-smokers, but the answer should not be to ban smoking on campus. Simple communication and strict enforcements can make everyone happy, smoker or non-smoker.