In My Opinion: Smoking should be brought back on campus

Richard Fast

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Loyola has enacted an across-the-board smoking ban. I understand why supporters rally behind this policy. What needs to come to light, however, are the unintended consequences. Repealing the smoking ban will restore individual freedom and prevent unwanted repercussions.

Smoking is a personal decision. Opponents say that an addict has no choice, that they are chained to a pack without their consent. While it is well documented that nicotine is an addictive substance, there are many quitting programs available.

Forcing a ban upon smokers who have not asked for help breaches a standard of ethics. While prohibitionists claim to be acting in smokers’ best interests, what they are not taking into consideration are the negative, unintended consequences of such a policy.

Banning smoking on campus will lead students to adopt other behaviors that are not conducive to a neighborly environment.

By forcing students to leave campus to light up, they are going to congregate in front of neighbors’ houses who may not appreciate that. I’m an occasional smoker myself (full disclosure), but if I owned a house across the street and I routinely found a bunch of cigarette butts on my front lawn, I wouldn’t be too happy.

If students just stayed in the designated smoking zones on campus, as they have been doing for the most part, there would not be an issue with the neighbors.

Prohibitionists assert that smokers are hurting themselves directly. That is their freedom to do so. If a smoker has no desire to quit, forcing him to is a violation of his freedom.

Prohibitionists also assert that smokers hurt others indirectly. While this is true, non-smokers are aware of where the smoking spots are on campus and with the majority of them, there is room to walk around them and not inhale smoke.

Smoking is a personal decision and if smokers are forced to leave campus they will have to resort to occupying neighbors’ front lawns, disrupting neighborly relations. The university should not be forcing a policy that inhibits personal freedom because quitting programs are available and widespread. Staying within the designated smoking zones is fair to smokers and easy to avoid for non-smokers.

We need to push for a repeal of the smoking ban. Students should send e-mails to the student government and the Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J. to reclaim the smoking spots.

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