In defense of the smoking ban
I headed off to college for the first time. I stepped off the plane and reveled in my newfound sense of unlimited freedom and total control. However, I quickly discovered Washington University has rules and regulations that appear to limit the freedom of its students, such as the newly implemented campus wide tobacco ban. But, these regulations actually come with a multitude of new liberties.
The smoking ban will impove the quality of life for anyone on campus who has ever held their breath while walking through a cloud of smoke, had a coughing fit or an allergic reaction to tobacco. With the enforcement of the smoking ban, these people now will be able to enjoy campus without fear of health issues.
The ban was realized at a very logical time. With the recent implementation of health care reform backed by the Obama administration, Americans have become responsible for paying for the health care for all citizens. Therefore, all Americans are indirectly financially responsible when one is sick. This poses an issue for all citizens when someone becomes involved in destructive behavior,
such as smoking.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco found in a 2002 study that 3.8 percent of smokers quit smoking when their offices instituted smoke free policies at work. Employees who continued smoking smoked an average of 3.1 fewer cigarettes per day, creating a combined 29 percent relative reduction in tobacco use among all employees.
The scope of the University’s policy extends beyond the workplace and into dorms, creating an opportunity to replicate these positive results on a bigger scale. Every year in the United States alone, there are an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers. Eliminating smoking on campus can help keep non-smokers healthy. If Washington University can have that effect on such a large scale, they can drastically prevent long-term health problems for their students that all Americans would have to pay for.
So even though I can’t smoke on campus, Washington University is still a place brimming with opportunity and healthy lungs.