Monday, December 20, 2010

Non-Smoker Argues Against Proposed Smoking Ban

See this Article in the King's College Crown Newspaper

Let me begin by stating that inhaling smoke is obviously bad and against the laws of nature. But, although those who wish to abolish smoking on the King's College campus may mean well, I believe the proposed smoking ban set to go into effect next summer would bring inconvenience and little or no benefits.

For one, King’s College is located in the city--not on a sequestered campus where a smoking ban may be more enforceable. City streets intersect the King’s campus, and as far as I know, even if the college passes a smoking ban, students will still be free to smoke on Franklin, Main, Jackson, River, and Union Streets because smoking on Wilkes-Barre’s streets is legal. So for those of you who’ve complained about encountering smokers on campus, if the smoking ban goes in effect, you’ll merely encounter them on the city sidewalk instead of (say) outside the student center. I doubt those who wish to avoid cigarette smoke would gain much from a ban. Moreover, smokers would be temporarily exiled to the city sidewalks as they smoke.

I have asthma, and I’ve never been bothered much by smokers on the King’s College campus. (Maybe other asthma sufferers have a worse reaction than I do.) Most of the time, I can simply refrain from inhaling for the second it takes to pass by somebody smoking. The only time I’ve ever been bothered by smoke on campus was when somebody was smoking while walking in front of me, leaving a trail of smoke behind him. But as long as smokers stay stationary, they don’t bother me.

I also believe designated smoking areas are unnecessary because so few people smoke on campus. Those who say encountering a smoker ruins a nice spring day are probably being overly-dramatic and hyperbolic for the sake of argument.

Today, few people smoke on campus, and more often than not, there are no people smoking to be found. But back in the early 70’s, as alumnus Rick Mayock relates, one professor chain-smoked cigars throughout his lectures, and so many of his students smoked cigarettes that at the end of the lecture the ceiling was filled with smog. What influenced Mayock to quit smoking was information he learned of in a science class concerning the detrimental effects cigarette smoke has on the lungs.

An educational approach that would encourage smokers interested in quitting to do so would seem like a more effective, less inconveniencing way to persuade smokers to quit. Perhaps every semester or two some visiting expert could give a laid-back speech about the health risks of smoking. This would be a positive move that student government could take credit for, which would not place a burden on smokers.
For that matter, student government and the college need not take any action; non-smokers could merely encourage their smoker friends to quit on a more effective, personal level.

No comments:

Post a Comment