Recently, there was discussion in student senate about a campus wide smoking ban. A survey was conducted, but I never caught the results. It seems obviously lopsided to survey people on a topic such as cigarette smoking. The people that smoke, will vote to keep it, and the people that don’t, will vote to ban it. So, what do we accomplish? What it all comes down to is how many people from either side of the issue hear about it, and actually participate in such a survey. It comes down to the numbers, rather than finding a resolution to the situation we have been confronted with, as one would figure would be the desired objective of such a topic, in such a place.
Smoking is bad for your health. Second hand smoke is bad for the health of people that don’t even smoke. In an effort to protect these non smokers from inhaling this dangerous second hand smoke, MCTC has designated smoking areas. These areas have been enforced by citation-writing Public Safety officers, zapping those who venture out of the designated area with a $25 fine.
MCTC is a public institution, attended by the public and responsible to, and for them. Some members of the public smoke tobacco. Those that smoke produce second hand smoke. As it currently is, MCTC has that second hand smoke contained, as best as it can be. The situation, while unpleasant to some, is controlled. By banning smoking on campus the situation will become uncontrolled.
Smokers will continue to smoke, but that smoke will be pushed onto the sidewalks, streets, and storefronts of the surrounding areas. By banning smoking on public property, it is pushed onto private property.
If MCTC is responsible for the trash that all of it’s students produce, it is equally as responsible for the second hand smoke that they produce. Banning smoking, and pushing cigarette smoke onto other property, is MCTC shirking this responsibility.
The same logic is at work saying that some students produce more trash than others. Their trash negatively affects those that produce less, by filling up landfills and taking away portions of the earth that they can explore. Also, more landfills are unhealthy for all of us. So, lets cut down on students producing trash, by taking away their ability to throw stuff away. Ban on trash cans, effectively pushing our trash into the street.
From a controlled undesirable, to an uncontrolled undesirable.
People will smoke cigarettes. Nothing anybody can do about it. The same right that protects non-smokers from breathing second hand smoke, awards smokers to breathe it first hand. The question is, where will we have them smoke? And, how is MCTC going to demonstrate its responsibility to that smoke – by making it somebody else’s problem?