Smokers should take the habit off campus
Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 14:02
UCF's campus needs to quit — cold turkey.
The ban on smoking should extend to the sidewalks, crossways and courtyards. Tobacco shouldn't be allowed anywhere at UCF.
The current policy allows people to smoke anywhere outside as long as they aren't within 15 feet of an entrance. I don't believe this is enough.
I'm fed up with having to hold my breath as a smoker puffs out deadly toxins that linger in my nose long after they're gone. It's a daily annoyance that I, and plenty of other students, must deal with while walking to and from class. With so many anti-smoking campaigns nationwide, I don't think a ban such as this would be inconceivable.
Many campuses have already prohibited smoking indoors and outdoors. No colleges or universities in Arkansas and Pennsylvania allow anyone to smoke anywhere on campus. Education's new attitude toward smoking on campus comes from a set of guidelines published by the American College Health Association in 2009 that all tobacco use is a "significant health hazard."
If only through force of inconvenience, it prevents smokers from getting their deadly fix near other people. This protects non-smokers traveling on campus from unwillingly inhaling secondhand smoke. According to www.cancer.org, secondhand smoke has more cancer-causing agents than the smoke inhaled by the person dragging on the cigarette.
Yes, I do have a reason to be pissed when you're smoking near to me. You're killing me — literally. But even if "No Smoking" was chiseled into every brick on every building at UCF, I don't think that would be enough. This is an effort that needs to be supported and enforced by the community.
Enforcers tend to be slim on the university and college campuses that claim to be smoke-free, according to an article recently published on www.InsideHigher-Ed.com. Smoking still happens on these campuses because the motivation to quit isn't there.
Guidelines by the ACHA seem to give a clear outline of how to implement a smoke-free system but they still don't tell of a fool-hardy way to protect miles of open campus from the people who are going to break these rules anyway.
While a 100 percent campus-wide ban on smoking would be ideal, it's problematic. Smoking isn't illegal and would require those who cannot kick the habit to leave campus whenever they get the urge. That's why many of these campuses have created designated smoking areas.
Having these designated areas would encourage an effort to eliminate tobacco on campus. It would give smokers a break and non-smokers a breather. It would mean a cleaner campus where cigarette butts don't litter the ground outside. It would mean less harassment for smokers about their habit. As a non-smoker, I wouldn't mind walking a few more blocks in order to avoid one of these areas.
The ACHA sets high standards but I believe our campus can meet them with enough support. Our university promotes healthy lifestyles, and this ban on tobacco should be evidence of that rather than being seen as a punishment.
Should our campus quit cold turkey, it would promote healthier lifestyles and cleaner environments for students, faculty and visitors. This method has been known to increase the percentage of non-smokers in campus communities.