Posted by: reisendame | November 12, 2007

Colleges Ban Cigs on Campus

An old professor of mine once commented on the fact that just twenty-five years ago (and maybe less), students and teachers alike hot-boxed classrooms and libraries while they chain-smoked cigarettes. Now, as health science increasingly emphasizes that we need to kick these “killer cigs,” smoking indoors has now become taboo, if not outlawed.

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A new standard has taken root that may advance the anti-smoking cause even more remarkably: CNN reports that nearly 60 U.S. colleges have smoke-free policies, but Overton College in Georgia is one of the first schools claiming to be completely tobacco-free. Lander University in South Carolina endeavors to accomplish the same goal.

Students at these schools must leave campus for a cigarette break, unless they’d risk getting caught. I searched the web, but found no published statement of punishment for violating the new rule.

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According to Overton’s president, Martha Nisbitt, there have been no problems with the new policy so far. Still, it is difficult to tell just how closely the community college campus is monitored. It is also unclear just who is enforcing the rule. Campus security? Are faculty members responsible to report on students? What if a professor, administrator, or facilities worker was to violate the policy?

Clearly, there are some kinks to work out in this experiment, but I see no harm in implementing similar policies at schools across the nation, especially since U.S. smoking prevalence is highest in people between the ages of 18-24. People may protest that the decision to smoke or not to smoke cigarettes is a right we all reserve: these people must be informed that their own habits are, in fact, harmful to others by way of secondhand smoke.

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I may say here that I actually started smoking cigarettes when I was a college freshman. It seemed to convenient and pleasurable to gather with other smokers outside the dorms at night, or outside the student center after class, chatting and shooting the breeze. If this daily activity hadn’t been so easy to engage in, I may not have been a regular smoker for almost four years.

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Just for the record, I have since quit and re-started, then re-quit, and now have an occasional smoke when the mood suits me. This may be irrelevant, but it’s important to point out that I know first-hand how hard it is to stop once you’ve started. Nine out of ten smokers would probably say the same.

Smoking accounts for 30% of cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society. Anything that can be done to reduce the number of smokers, especially those targeted at a young age, is imperative to promoting the health of those living now as well as future generations.

Video: Lander University Bans Smoking

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Responses

  1. Please don’t ever stop writing. Your blog has become my new obsession, and I think you are quite possibly the most intelligent and talented writer I’ve ever encountered in my life. Seriously.


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