LETTER: Smoking ban on campus wouldn't make a difference
We all want a healthy campus. I’ll just get that right out of the way. MSU has taken many steps to improve the quality of life on campus and they should be commended for such actions. However, we are not the healthiest campus in America. Recently, there have been pushes to turn the campus “smoke-free,” which would prohibit students and faculty from using all forms of tobacco (including smokeless) while on campus.
They cite the negative effects of secondhand smoke, and proponents have depicted the campus as having a seemingly permanent black cloud hovering above it; whose nicotine-infused air robs us of the beauty of our campus. Instead of enforcing policies that were designed to combat the issue of student health, the university wishes to dabble with the most ostentatious ones and parade them through the streets, in the hopes that their health-conscious grandeur will be recognized and respected. Unfortunately, they cannot admit that Sparty is not wearing any clothes.
Yes, secondhand smoke is hazardous to your health if you live with someone who actively smokes inside the dwelling day in and day out. No one will refute that claim. However, step outside and the circumstances are much different. Once on campus, I will walk past one to two smokers a day, and they’re usually standing right outside the building, a common sight that many of you have witnessed I am sure. However , it has been shown that all it takes for OTS (outdoor tobacco-smoke) levels to subside is an approximate distance of six feet from the source. This means that the mandated 25-feet radius supposedly enforced by the university would already protect students entering in and out of buildings.
If the administration wanted to actually do something about tobacco use on campus, it should start getting serious about the laws that are already in place. The administration should focus on policies that maximize respect for individual choices, and not on ones that just make MSU look like everyone else.
Just because tobacco-free campuses are popular does not mean that they are right for MSU. I implore the administration to reject such hollow, unnecessarily intrusive policies and instead work on enforcing the laws that already exist.
Evan Schrage is a public policy senior the representative for the College of Social Science to MSU.