The Maroon

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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1 Comment

One Response to “In My Opinion: Smoking should be brought back on campus”

  1. Bill on September 9th, 2015 1:08 pm

    I would like to address the points you bring up in your piece. If I miss the meaning or context of any statement, I apologize in advance.

    “Forcing a ban upon smokers who have not asked for help breaches a standard of ethics.” Here you have combined two disparate points. The ban is forced upon smokers because Loyola wishes to be a tobacco-free campus. The tobacco cessation programs are being offered to both alleviate the burden this places upon the smoker’s actions as well as a genuine care for the smoker’s health; both fall under the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis. The ban is forced, the help is not.

    “By forcing students to leave campus to light up, they are going to congregate in front of neighbors’ houses who may not appreciate that.” Where smokers choose to smoke off campus is their choice. It is not Loyola’s fault. Your prediction of a “bunch of cigarette butts” may certainly come to pass. If I were a property owner faced with such litter, I would take this up with the smokers themselves, aggressively. How a smoker treats Loyola’s neighbors, either with respect or as an ashtray, is 100% the smoker’s choice.

    As a side-note, Louisiana Act 581, effective June 9, 2014, bans smoking within 200 feet of all public and private K-12 schools. This law includes Holy Name of Jesus School. Smoking on Calhoun Street is prohibited by state law for half the block before Freret Street, all along the perimeter of the school, and half the block before Loyola Avenue. This also includes half the blocks running out along LaSalle and Cromwell Streets. This particular neighbor of Loyola is not the best one to treat as an ashtray.

    “… 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.” Loyola’s smoking area policy failed due to the indifference of smokers. As a non-smoker, I can attest to the routine presence of smokers in non-smoking areas.

    On clear days, smokers could be found relaxing on any lawn or on any bench on campus. I routinely saw smokers beneath the “No Smoking” signs on the Danna Center porch and the Library portico.

    On rainy days, all of the covered areas on campus became de facto smoking areas. This meant that ingress and egress for nearly all buildings became a gauntlet of second-hand smoke. The combination of rain-wet clothing/hair and second-hand smoke is a smell that says with a non-smoker for the rest of the day. For people with sinus issues, such as myself, this isn’t a mere inconvenience, it is a congestive irritant. For others health concerns, it is worse. Non-smokers should never have had to deal with smokers laying claim to building entrances. Loyola’s ban is a welcome relief.

    Smoking areas, when obeyed, were never 100% avoidable. Smoke travels quite well. The smoking areas near the dorms were on the adjoining sidewalks. One area at the corner of Carrollton Hall was sheltered from the rain. To avoid this area would involve walking in the rain to avoid the consequences of someone else’s addiction.

    “The university should not be forcing a policy that inhibits personal freedom because quitting programs are available and widespread.” This sentence is both backwards and wrong. Loyola is offering cessation programs because of the ban. As for personal freedom, smoking is not a personal act. It involves everyone around the smoker for the smoker’s pleasure at the non-smoker’s expense. It is the non-smoker’s personal freedom that is lost to the smoker uninhibited freedom.

    I welcome the new policy and the freedom it has given me to enjoy Loyola’s beautiful open air campus. Since the ban was enacted, I have been able to sit on any bench on campus and simply breathe. Before the ban, such a simple pleasure was beyond my sinus’ ability to remain open in the presence of cigarette smoke. I would like to encourage everyone who is enjoying the campus to send e-mails to the SGA and the university president to thank them for the new policy and the breath of fresh air it brings.

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In My Opinion: Smoking should be brought back on campus