Picture this: It is a beautiful day outside, and you are a young, healthy college student. You walk outside of your dorm to attend your first class of the day and take a deep breath of that fresh, crisp air. However, all you can smell is tobacco.
Many college campuses have yet to change their policies about smoking on campus, making things horrible for all of the non-smoking students and faculty members. The campus smokers take advantage of the lack of regulations and blow their smoke everywhere.
According to Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, over 1,000 universities in the United States have adopted a 100 percent smoke-free policy; students and faculty cannot smoke anywhere on campus. So then what is stopping all of the other colleges from following this trend?
I think what gets me the most is the fact that, since 2,000, states across the country have been enacting laws that prohibit smoking in the workplace, restaurants and bars. The CDC has reported that currently most states have at least some restrictions on smoking in public places.
Recently, CVS decided to stop selling cigarettes. If the second-largest drug store in the U.S. can completely cut out their tobacco-using customers, then why can’t every college become smoke-free? At least CVS’ decision actually affects them, because they may be losing a certain number of customers. However, these schools are not going to lose anything by going smoke-free. In fact, they will be improving their students’ lives.
According to USA Today, recent studies have come to show that tobacco-free campuses have helped students to quit smoking. In fact, many of the schools that have adopted this policy even provide counseling for students to help them cope with their addiction.
I attended the University of South Carolina last year, and during my first semester there, students were allowed to smoke on campus. However, at the start of the spring semester, USC became a smoke-free campus. As soon as this was enacted, it felt like the air immediately cleared up; I was no longer walking to class while being constantly surrounded by a cloud of smoke.
However, I now go to Temple University, and at Temple the students are allowed to smoke whenever and wherever they want on campus. I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have had someone blow their cigarette smoke in my face.
The worst part of it all is that there are some areas where you know you are going to run into a large group of smokers. For example, at Temple, the courtyards outside of Gladfelter and Anderson halls are filled with tobacco-smoking students and faculty.
For the people who do not smoke, it really is not pleasurable for us to have to walk around, constantly being followed by smoke.
We learn about how bad smoking is for you all throughout school, and now many public places (like restaurants) no longer allow smoking on their property. So then why is it that not every college and university in the United States has a smoke-free campus?
Making a campus tobacco-free improves the quality of life for everyone who attends the school. Part of a university’s job is to ensure the health and safety of its students, however this is not done by allowing students to smoke on campus. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education has even written on their blog that enforcing these policies “not only support the many people on college campuses who are trying to quit [smoking] but also dissuade young adults from starting.”
Universities are known to be trend-setters, not followers. So the fact that not every campus is smoke-free, yet restaurants are and places like CVS no longer sell tobacco products, amazes me. You would think that this would not be a problem in areas populated by students, a large amount of whom do not indulge in tobacco, however, it still is.
Are people not irked enough by the lack of fresh air? Do they not understand the possible risk of second-hand smoke?
If you really want to smoke, you can do it on your own property, or somewhere where there are not a lot of people constantly walking outside (i.e., a college campus).
I would love to be able to walk around Temple University’s campus and smell that fresh Philadelphia air, instead of the tobacco I’m forced to be surrounded by every day. If Temple truly cares about the health of its students, it will make the right decision and enact a smoke-free campus policy.