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Smokers deserve some space on campus

According to Kimberly Railey, Christian Science Monitor, in January of last year, 466 colleges around the United States had total prohibition on smoking on their campuses. By January of 2012, that number had jumped to 648. When put beside state and city smoking bans, very quickly equates to the conclusion that smoking is becoming a social taboo, and smokers are quickly becoming one of the most discriminated social groups in North America.

Jake Essman / The Arbiter

According to Kimberly Railey of the Christian Science Monitor in January of 2011, 466 colleges around the United States had total prohibition on smoking on their campuses. By January of 2012, that number jumped to 648.
Along with state and city smoking bans, it very quickly leads to the conclusion that smoking is becoming a social taboo, and smokers are quickly becoming one of the most discriminated social groups in North America.
During fall semester of 2009, the university pitched in to ban smoking across campus.
“It was talked about years prior to this date and the thinking behind it was to create a healthy campus for folks,” said Lauren Thomas, a health educator at Student Health Services. “As things have evolved in regards to smoking over the past several decades, more and more facilities and common areas were made to be smoke free, to help not only personal health, but community health, and environmental health.”
Such is a kindly message, but when confronted on the subject of students and employees who do not wish to quit, the sentiment is incredibly authoritarian.
“There are no smoking hubs, or any kind of places on campus where it is designated to smoke, it is completely smoke free,” Thomas said. “In terms of health promotion and health education, we hope to give people resources to quit, instead of to smoke.”
One does not have to walk far on campus to discover cigarette butts and trash litter by the sidewalks, gutters, the Greenbelt and in some unfortunate cases, the river, indicating the anti-smoking stance is rather ineffective.
In fact, Student Health Services holds a near celebratory event year called, “Campus Clean-up,” in which students wear gloves and gather discarded cigarette butts. The student who collects the most wins
a prize.
If Student Health Services feels the need to hold an entire event for the collection of cigarette butts, would that not suggest their “smoke free” stance is prompting a blatant disregard of the ordinance?
This reluctance to utilize smoking zones on campus is not totally shared around the country. Schools such as University of Washington and University of Georgia, have established designated smoking areas for students and employees, while also supporting cessation programs. Both schools document these programs on their websites.
These smoking zones are placed out of the way of common areas and are easily avoidable by non-smokers, while not being absurdly out of reach. These locations also contain the proper devices to disposal of cigarette butts, which certainly aids in the general cleanliness of the campus in general.
Also, designated smoking areas would have virtually no risk of causing second-hand smoke inhalation if non-smokers avoid these areas.
Smoking is treated responsibly by the federal government, stating generally tobacco is a substance which can only be consumed by individuals of a certain age, and state and private institutions may regulate smoking on their own private property, which is the policy allowing Boise State to ban smoking across its campus, but is it right?
The fact that smoking is held to those of 18 years of age and older would imply it is a legal adults’ decision whether or not to take a puff, and Boise State, an urban campus which is home to a wide diversity of cultures and social lifestyles, bans smoking and treats smokers like children deserving of a slap on the wrist.
Smokers are becoming a social sub-group that is discriminated against on many levels. The concept that someone could be excluded from campus for making a decision to smoke is a glaring violation of what in truth should be their rights.
The implementation of smoking zones around campus would bring about a higher level of satisfaction to all those involved.
Smokers will no longer feel victimized, non-smokers will not contract second hand smoke and the campus itself would experience a reduction in litter from spent cigarettes.

About Dakota Castets-Didier (7 Articles)
Staff writer for the Boise State Arbiter Opinion section. Die hard Red Sox and Bruins fan. Studies political philosophy, with an interest in international journalism and diplomacy.

9 Comments on Smokers deserve some space on campus

  1. Is it a good thing to spend tuition dollars to build "special" places for this issue? Wouldn't it be better spent elsewhere? Like for educational purposes?

  2. Smokers are NOT discriminated at Boise State University or at any of the other 774 colleges and universities in the US who have gone smokefree as of July 1, 2012 (there was an increase of approximately 20% more of campuses making this wise healthy decision since the January 2012 stats cited above).

    The clear reason that they are not discriminated is because smokers are not a protected class. The individuals are not being banned from being on campus, just the destructive behavior of smoking is not acceptable.

    • sessionskier // Sep 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm //

      As citizens of the United States we have our rights, and as an over 18 citizen it is our right to smoke. It is not anyone's place to declare a behavior destructive if that behavior is legal. Smoking would not be so destructive with designated smoking areas where smokers could enjoy their tobacco and throw away their butts while not being distracting to other students.

      My main concern as a smoker is that we litter the river and parks because we don't have an area to throw our butts and the areas that we smoke at, non smokers also frequent. By creating designated smoking area's we would be get rid of this distracting behavior. Also it is not the university's place to force us to quit, we are adults and we make our own decisions whether they be good or bad.

      • I find your reply confusing. First you state, “It is not anyone's place to declare a behavior destructive if that behavior is legal” but you immediate follow by saying, “Smoking would not be so destructive with designated smoking areas…” Well, it sounds as if you are confused on how you really feel on this matter. Perhaps this will help. Destructive behavior is conduct that, due to its intensity and/or frequency, presents an imminent danger to the person who exhibits the behavior (the addicted smoker) , to other people (those around the person smoking, including their loved ones that may live with the smoker), or to property (most often the result of careless smoking resulting in fires).As a smoker your concern that “we litter the river and parks” is a valid concern since the non-biodegradable cigarette butts that you refer to is not only the # 1 littered item in this country, but these tiny toxic waste dumps are the most littered item WORLDWIDE. But this concern of yours as a smoker should not be your main concern, as enormous as it is. Your long term health should be your main concern as well as the health hazard you cause to others that surround you.Finally, Boise State University and the nearly 800 colleges and university administrations in this country are not forcing you to quit or even telling you to quit. As an adult you need to make that decision on your own. BSU and the others are just saying that this behavior is no longer acceptable anywhere on their property.From: notifications@intensedebatemail.comTo: Subject: sessionskier replied to your comment on Smokers deserve some space on campus

        • sessionskier // Sep 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm //

          BSU is definitely urging us to quit.
          EX: http://healthservices.boisestate.edu/pdf/smokefre
          "Boise State has adopted this policy to encourage smokers to reduce or eliminate their consumption of tobacco."
          "How will the policy be enforced?
          1st Offense: Remind individuals about the University's smoke-smoke free campus policy and WILL PROVIDE THEM WITH A COPY OF THE SMOKE-FREE INFORMATION CARD."
          They are clearly limiting our rights as smokers and this is unfair. Its not like they have weight control programs on campus to benefit over weight students, yet they have non-smoking programs?

          Next
          The behavior would be much less destructive to non smokers if there were designated smoking areas because the areas would be easily avoidable as they would be located at the edges of the campus.

  3. mattreyburn // Sep 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm //

    As an adult and a former smoker I have made the personal decision to quite. (Both for a more healthy lifestyle and an effort to save money by removing extra expenditures.) In the stressful environment provided by college courses should my college fees go to contributing an area of temptation for me to fall back into my old addiction?

    The article does mention designated smoking areas. While not on campus they are not far from it. I know with the extra inhalation of smoke walking this little distance is difficult, however as an adult you are also able to make the decision as to whether it is worth it or not.

    Also, I do not think that that a group can be "discriminated" against while they are able to decide if they want to be in that group or not. "Discrimination" only applies to people who can not change who they are. Examples of this would be: Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Mental/Physical aptitude, etc. (Bringing up an interesting argument on if you can discriminate against someone with personal religious beliefs… but that is not on topic so we will conclude here.)

    • sessionskier // Sep 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm //

      The argument of cost of designated smoking areas is not legitimate. It would be incredibly cheap to create these designated smoking areas. It would probably cost less of each student then the amount of money you get for free printing each semester, and inexpensive to keep clean.
      You've made the choice to quit therefore you can make the choice to avoid these areas, which I assume wouldn't be to difficult.

  4. As a University drop out and a smoker and I can assure all the high-horsed nannies the smoking ban is NOT an acceptable policy. Never-mind the obvious tactics of telling smokers (in an inferred way) they are not welcome to higher education anymore. Never-mind the anger and discrimination that gets generated with such policies. Never-mind the fact that the claims made by those pushing the policy are as about as far fetched and ridiculous as having a no-nose-picking policy.

  5. The process of education is very necessary and pivotal for the human beings and individuals. The abilities are inculcated and made very sharp for the success. The lives Aare mounted on the capacity to acquired knowledge and become very good individuals.

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