SUNY-wide smoking ban will improve environment

Smoking has always been a controversial issue when it comes to restricting it from the people that choose to take part in it. So when the SUNY Board of Trustees announced that all State University of New York campuses will be tobacco-free by 2014, the issue is raised on whether it is actually a good decision or not. The immediate reaction would be yes, but smokers would be hard-pressed to agree.

According to a 2011 CORE survey, 29.8 percent of students use tobacco on campus. It may seem like a small percentage, but it comes out to about 3,000 people on campus. For the majority of those people, they tend to smoke more than one cigarette a day as well. There is no one prime location on campus where smokers are supposed to smoke, so the majority of campus can be affected by second hand smoke as well.

This was the main reason to create the smoking ban in the first place, to try to make the campus a healthier place. Student Health Services director Elizabeth Burns believes that the ban will create a clean air environment and will eliminate any contact with second hand smoke, as well as secondary litter. Not only are they trying to make it a healthier environment for everyone, they hope that it will cause smokers to smoke less or at best quit smoking.

But others see the middle ground of the issue, why smokers have the right to be angry with this as well. Oswego State professor David Vampola is divided on the topic and has no position for either side. He sees the side of how the “public health” is in jeopardy and how smokers can harm the non-smokers, but also sees it as an activity performed by an individual, where their right should be protected as long as they do not directly harm others.

“The conflict between the contrasting ideals of collective and individual rights can articulate some of the cultural and social discord that we are experiencing in America today,” Vampola said. “The controversy over the attempt to enact smoking bans is yet another manifestation of the dynamic of these two domains in the intellectual and political life of our society.”

So smokers have the argument that they have the right to smoke if they want to and that even if there were a ban, they wouldn’t have to stop smoking. Many would admit that it is hard enough to quit smoking in general. It was not announced what the penalty for smoking during the ban would be, but students or even faculty could suffer the penalty of having to quit and the struggle that comes with it.

The Mary Walker Health Center does have seminars and programs that one can go through to help with the struggle, and the ban will also take place in a step process to ease everyone into the ban.

The key point to the issue is that smoking is harmful to the people that take part in it and even to the people that do not. Losing family members due to smoking is not something anyone should go through and, the sooner anyone can quit, the sooner they can help the process of making sure that doesn’t happen. It may not stop people from smoking, but for the most part the ban will give a healthier environment for the Oswego State campus.

2 thoughts on “SUNY-wide smoking ban will improve environment

  1. Smoking has not always been a controversial issue. At one time you could smoke anywhere and at any time. There were no restrictions; you could even smoke in a doctor’s office. When the non-smokers whined about the smoke, designated smoking areas were put in place. Smokers didn’t object and limited their smoking to those areas. That wasn’t enough for the nanny non-smokers. They had to make ignorant people believe that second hand smoke was the cause of all evil. So the liberals and leftists put together bogus studies stating the dangers of second hand smoke, and the smokers were forced outside. A ban, however, is unfair and only takes in one side. This is blatant discrimination.
    The article states that 29.8 percent of students use tobacco on campus and that it is about 3000 smokers. I have been here for years now and have never at any time seen 3000 people smoking outside. You never see more than a handful at any given time and it is spread out. Even if every smoker was to stand outside and have a smoke, it would not cause a major cloud over the campus. The smoke dissipates and does not linger. So the argument of making the campus a clean air environment is a crock. In order to have clean air you would have to ban all autos, buses and construction equipment. As far as litter, put out more ashtrays.
    As for studies, everyone knows that they can be skewed. For every study that states second hand smoke is killing people there are studies that prove them wrong. I would like to see one death certificate that lists “second hand smoke from a cigarette” as the cause of death. There are many studies that say smoking indoors creates less indoor air pollution than the current level allows. Some studies have even stated that nicotine actually stimulates brain activity and improves memory.
    There is a study out now that states burgers from restaurants cause more air pollution than diesel trucks. Why not ban all hamburgers on campus. Are you willing to give up your Whoppers and Big Macs to save the environment?
    What about becoming a dry campus? Alcohol causes more health risks than smoking. There are more deaths to non drinkers because of alcohol related incidents, but I don’t see any bans on alcohol.
    How about banning soda, candy and all sweets because of obesity? According to Michele Obama, obesity is a major threat to our nation’s security. Let’s put a limit on the type and quantity of food you are allowed to purchase and consume on campus in order to make it a healthier place.
    Here is something else to consider. Smokers pay over five dollars per pack in taxes. These taxes are used for liberal leftist causes. It also pays the health care for children of low income families. If you are successful in outlawing smoking and if you also succeed in getting everyone to quit, where and what will replace all that tax revenue. They will have to find something else to tax and it could be something that you enjoy.
    Let’s face it, all those who complain about smokers don’t care about the health of the smoker or their rights. If they were so concerned about our health, then they wouldn’t send us outside in the cold winter to smoke. Here’s a novel idea, let’s have indoor smoking areas and if you want fresh air, go outside.

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