By Kaitlin Vickers
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2,500,000 people have died due to second hand smoke since 1964. This number compared to 480,000 smokers per year is significantly smaller. This takes only about five years to reach the fatality rate of second hand smoke. Seeing this drastic difference in numbers leads me to believe that the real people at risk here is the actual smokers.
Our university administration is overstepping their boundaries when they say that they are going to ban smoking on our campus. With our campus being “dry” already it leaves me to believe that the administration enjoys using their power to limit students.
I do understand that second hand smoke is harmful, but my question is: how many of these people that are complaining about the smoke are around it off campus? Most people that do not smoke associate themselves with at least one person that does, and a lot of times these people are spending time with them when they are smoking. The CDC stated that second hand smoke in any amount can be dangerous. With this logic then we should ban all smoking in public places whether it be inside or outside. Maybe tobacco should be illegal all together? If it were illegal then black markets would open up to sell the tobacco products anyway, the problem of second hand smoke cannot be fully eliminated.
Tobacco products being banned from campus as a whole is also not a good idea due to the fact that not all of it has smoke, so it is not harming others. Chewing tobacco is put into the mouth of the consumer and does not have any output such as smoke. How is this harming to bystanders? The answer is: it isn’t.
Last school year I lived on campus and smoking was banned on the balconies and inside the dorm rooms due to a fire that had happened previously. If smoking gets banned all together on campus, these students that are living on campus would not be able to smoke at their “home.” This may push them to smoke inside causing a fire hazard or send them into withdrawal.
Tommy Owens, a current UNO student said, “When I was on student government last year I was one of a few senators to vote against a tobacco ban. I think the complete ban will have a negative impact on students who smoke especially international students who come from countries with different tobacco norms. It also puts another hardship on smokers who are disproportionately minority and of lower socioeconomic status.”
I know there is a lot of people out there that are against the ban but only one out of the five people that responded to my question stated that something should be done to modify smoking on campus, even then it was just a modification to the already present rule.
In my opinion the administration should survey students to see what the overall population thinks about the smoking ban. This could be submitted anonymously like our course evaluations. This would give the administration a chance to hear from the campus as a whole instead of deciding for everybody without any real input.