On the day students return to campus in January of this year from the winter break, the air is fresh, clean and crisp. The campus will be completely tobacco-free because of the ban, and I’ll be smoking across the street.
The reasons for the ban are understandable clear: smoking stinks, making it easier to catch airborne of disease and cancer causing pollutants and couples threaten the health of others. Smoking is bad. One should not, however, take this means those smokers themselves badly because they use cigarettes again and again - an association that seems to be drawn, even accidentally, by many non-smokers.
Smokers are not very close-knit group, and I have not met a person who is very passionate about the act of smoking. We do not like beer nerds or xenophobes or even fans of cigars: We smoke because we like to smoke, but that’s about as far as it goes. However, the ban on smoking USM, he intends to put in place next semester will surely bring smokers together in some way, whether it’s off-campus conspiracy to keep warm in cold weather, or as part of a protest smokestack.
If university administrators believe that the smoking ban will encourage students and staff to quit smoking, I suspect that they are in for a disappointment. Smokers can smoke and be in a different place. I say this not because I’m proud of the smoker, because I am not, but because I know, in contrast to many of those who agree with the smoking ban, what it that makes smoking enjoyable and exactly how hard habit it is is to quit.
Most people know about the health risks of smoking and being with smokers while they smoke. It could be argued that the fear of exposure to second-hand smoke is probably the biggest reason for USM’s smoking ban. Once again, let me repeat that this is understandable concern. I do not want to give anyone cancer. One may wish to consider, however, that carcinogens are produced in the combustion of tobacco is not much different from those produced in the hearth fire or household. In fact, studies have shown that the burning of wood - the same as it is in the fire, for example - actually releases more carcinogens and mutagens, which are 40 times more harmful than those found in cigarette smoke, however, we do not put our wood stoves and fireplaces across the street, is not it? If one can find wonderful smell of burning wood - a smell so often associated with the winter and holiday season - which the person may have a higher risk of developing lung issues health than if he or she were to come into contact with second-hand cigarette smoke
Why should the university, government agency of the state, to dictate that its students are eligible to pay to do with their bodies? I’ll make a concession that smoking is a bad habit offensive that smokers should be isolated from non-smokers, so that the air around the campus can remain free from harmful substances, but I do not see how this is a business or university student can not use the product as harmless, as smokeless tobacco.
If disposed of carefully, smokeless tobacco poses absolutely no risk to any person other than their users. This, of course, is not a safe product on any part of the mind, but its mode of consumption makes it completely harmless to a tobacco-free students, faculty and staff.
Complete ban on tobacco would make sense if USM attended mostly children, but like almost every part of students and staff an adult, the idea, frankly, a bit ridiculous. We do not need to join hands to cross the street. We should not be required to wear knee pads when we fall. We know the dangers of smoking and those of other daily activities. We can make our own choices, and we will.
Although I am concerned the forthcoming ban on tobacco agencies should not assume that the currently implemented smoking otherwise satisfactory or less deserving of a disappointment. Why, for example, smokers are well positioned smoking? Currently does not exist and was not there it was convenient or obvious places for students and staff to smoke.
Apparently, designated smoking areas do currently exist, but they are so far from the typical places and smoking is so bad noted that it is not surprising that students continue to smoke in the same areas as they always have. Perhaps if the university worked to meet these smokers - students, faculty and staff – instead of treating them like inferiors without a voice in university policy, the tobacco issue is not a problem.