Smoking Ban On Campus?

smoking ban campusThe University of Minnesota is considering instituting a campus-wide smoking ban on the Twin Cities campus, having already enacted a ban on the Duluth and Crookston campuses. A study done by Boynton Health Service has been sent to students, faculty and staff to determine the opinions on such a ban and see if it is at all feasible.

Some are already expressing their antagonism towards the possible ban, though a recent study by Boynton says 80% of students are reported to never use tobacco products. There are already smoking limitations on campus, but the new policy will prevent smoking in outside areas.

So, opinions? There were tons of them flying during last year’s smoking referendum, and already we see a range of comments flooding the Minnesota Daily’s article. I don’t smoke, but I also am not particularly bothered by those that do. City Page’s Matt Snyder is quick to anger, as many pro-smokers tend to be when someone tries to take away their pacifier. Is a campus-wide smoking ban a continuation of Puritanical prohibition, or do people just not like smelling like the underside of a truck when they walk to school? Personally, I think it’s a little foolish to try to stop college kids from smoking. College age individuals need cigarettes as a way to pretend they’re all grown up, and they’re going to do it anyway, especially if you make them think its even more rebellious then what they’ve convinced themselves of already.

As a non-smoker, I initially opposed the city-wide smoking ban on ideological grounds: I don’t really believe in any form of being told what to do. Now that I’ve lived in it for a bit, I’m glad it exists, frankly. I got sort of tired of having my clothes stink after going to a bar, and it’s nice to see people killing themselves with beer rather than cigarettes. But an out-of-doors ban is not only difficult to police, but it does infringe on someones rights: Where the hell are you supposed to go to smoke then?

The intention seems to be to fight smoking by putting smokers in a corner and saying “Nuh-uh”, but if nothing else, this will only encourage them to smoke more out of spite. Smokers are a particularly defensive bunch: They all know it’s bad for them, they all know they should quit, but they tend to turn their addiction-addled paranoia into rage against those who tell them they shouldn’t do it. Even if most of campus does not smoke, you’re going to get some heavy blowback from those that do.

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