Smoking Ban Opinion

Smoking Ban Opinion by Heidi Stenquist

Considering only 100 students put the vote in place, smoking is now banned on the City College campus. Excluded to parking lots and on adjacent city streets, smokers now will be limited to areas to breathe in their cigarettes. That means me.

I do not feel the need to officially ban cigarettes from campus nor do I feel it’s a violation of conduct. It’s not for the state to say, not to me. What else will they say is misconduct? Wearing leg warmers again? We’re talking about legal personal choices and freedoms, right here in America!

The famous chemist Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “Pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective of human affairs.” A life member of the Montreal Pipe Smokers Club, Einstein was one of the greatest supporters of tobacco smoking in the world. Time Magazine named him, Person of the Century in 1999. If we listen to great minds or examine thoughts from those like the Smoker’s Association, a non-profit international organization who ask if these bans are not merely steps to greater acts of exclusionary rules on people in the future.

In this trial year I encourage anyone who has an appreciation of the freedoms of this country to think hard and long about the issue when the time comes to vote on it again in 2010. Think about your own rights in other areas, would you want to ban drinking sodas on campus or french fries because studies show health concerns? You might not be a smoker; you might have allergies or asthma, even still, think about others, certain areas made available to students would be a better consideration towards individual rights.

Most smokers don’t even smoke around those that don’t; you’ll see them in corners puffing away before class in areas that usually aren’t in front of classes anyway. Out of the 56 acres that amass City College, you’re telling me that an outright ban would be the solution, I think not. A smoker, who has the burden of wanting one, has the same characteristics of anyone wanting that caffeine or sugar rush. Allowing students to smoke on campus in designated areas is the answer here.

All smokers by now are aware of the dangers attributed with smoking, most smokers do wish they could quit, however the reality is that no ban stops us from doing what we want. Even City College President Terrence Burgess “low-key enforcement” on the issue sends a message. Though arrests won’t be made, smokers can be given a write-up for non-compliance and reviewed on an individual basis.

Violation of conduct code 3100, as it presents itself, is nothing short of a violation of civil liberties and freedoms set forth under the Constitution of America. Even if I was a non-smoker, I would NEVER try to tell another person to stop doing what they want. Just doesn’t seem right.

Regardless of my opinion, the fact remains that tobacco is not the pollutant in the air that causes damage to lungs and yet we breathe that in all the time. According to the American Heart Association, in the United States, an estimated 26.2 million men and 20.9 million women are smokers. Though they are not all on campuses, this group is large enough to represented fairly and have their opinion and vote count, unlike the Associated Students poll which failed to include staff and employee input on the subject.

New findings on related contributing factors, like the cancer gene, will hopefully shed light on the issue in the future. As for now the ban stands, and I will be on the sidelines of City streets, standing up for myself and others on the issue, protecting the personal liberties I believe in.

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Smoking Ban Opinion