This archived article was written by: Marsha Jensen
Got a light? In the United States alone, an estimated 25.9 million men and 20.7 million women smoke cigarettes. Although these staggering numbers have gone down in the last 20 years, studies show that the most avid smokers are between the ages of 18 and 24. Why? Most of these people are college students trying to make serious decisions as to where they will go and what they will do for the rest of their lives. Not to mention all the homework and finals, midterm exams and paper deadlines. All this stress takes a toll and although some choose to go to the gym to get away, others smoke a cigarette.
But studies have shown a new trend spreading across the states. Over 150 colleges including San Diego State and Mesa College and the near to be added Utah State University, have put new restrictions on the selling of tobacco and where students can smoke on campus. Out of these colleges, about 60 have banned smoking on campus completely, all in an effort to prevent smoking and help smokers quit. Education programs have also been put forth.
In Utah, people are not allowed to smoke inside and within 25 feet of a public building. Unfortunately all across CEU people are seen smoking right outside dorm and campus buildings. Most non smokers don’t appreciate this fact, complaining of the smell and raising concerns about secondhand smoke. Though smokers don’t purposefully cause these problems, they still occur every day. So, is CEU the next on the list to ban smoking? Most likely not anytime soon. But how does one satisfy nonsmokers and NOT infringe on smokers rights? There are some things that the college could do to make this easier for everyone.
In most cases, cigarette extinguishers (those sand-filled ash trays outside of buildings) are NOT placed 25 feet away from the door. This only makes it easier for smokers to stand closer to the doors, and it causes problems when other students walk past them. And there is a big problem of cigarette butts cluttering the grass and sidewalks. Another issue, smoking a cigarette takes about 10 minutes. Most smokers would rather sit for 10 minutes than stand. This especially applies to students who are inside most of the day.
Now, in front of the SAC building there is an ash tray within 15 feet of the front doors, not the designated 25 feet. If school officials moved the ash tray across the sidewalk and next to the grass, this would eliminate second-hand smoke for other students and the smoking students to be out of the way of the sidewalk and doors. They would also be more pressed to put the cigarettes in the ash tray instead of flicking the butts onto the ground. And with all that open grass, why not put a small picnic table next to the trees and ash trays. This way, smokers would have somewhere to sit without having to walk any additional distance when they are on a timed break. By putting more trash cans across the campus it would help with littering too, and not just the butts from cigarettes.
Now, as almost anyone in the U.S. can tell you, smoking is a bad habit. It causes lung cancer, stomach cancer, higher risk of heart problems; the list goes on and on. This article is not however going to explain why people who smoke should quit. Or that people are making a bad decision by smoking. Everyone has a choice, and a right to decide whether or not to smoke. But by making small improvements on our very own campus, we are able to accommodate both groups of people. Without infringing on anyone’s rights as a person. So “nonsmokers” don’t look down on those who choose to light up. And “smokers” don’t get angry if someone complains about the smell. With participation from the school and both sides of the smoking line, our campus can be equal and user friendly to all.