Students argue “Smoke Free,” “Smoke Less” mean less freedom

It could be lights out for smokers if Ohioans decide to favor the smoking ban proposals appearing on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Issue 4 is a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would ban smoking in enclosed areas except tobacco stores, private residences or nonpublic areas as well as designated smoking areas in restaurants.

Most bars, bingo halls and bowling alleys would be excepted.

As a constitutional amendment, Issue 4 would also trump any ordinance or local law already in place.

However, Issue 5, a proposed law, goes beyond what the Constitutional Amendment would provide.

If Issue 5 passes individuals would no longer be able to smoke in public or areas of employment and smoke in their homes if they are running a businesses during operating hours.

These potential restrictions are firing up many individuals.

“It’s my constitutional right as an American to smoke anywhere,” said Jeff Barger, a sophomore. “I can understand preserving someone’s right not to be exposed to smoke, but why do I have to be shunned if I want to have a cigarette?”

“Does our government have the right to determine what is healthy?” Barger added. “Being outside is the best ventilation system there is, and if I can’t smoke there, where can I go? It feels like I’m being segregated.”

Barger is not the only person expressing frustrations over the proposals.

“The biggest issue I see with both of them is that the government is running every minute of a person’s life,” said Rena Wolf, senior.

Wolf also sees potential problems with the issues’ wording, especially with Issue 5.

“What if a person runs a telemarketing or e-Bay business from their home and a person does not physically enter the residence and the business owner is smoking, couldn’t that be a technicality the government could get you on?” Wolf said.

But some are expressing concerns over air quality for non-smokers.

“I do not think it’s fair for children to inhale secondhand smoke,” freshman Rachel Eckel said. “I also believe the ban would be good for the smoker’s health.”

Aimie Gorajewski, a senior, shares the same sentiments.

“If someone wants to poison themselves that is fine, but I do not want them to be around me and my child,” Gorajewski said. “My right for my child and me to breathe clean air is more important than a smoker’s right to poison their lungs.”

Frank Boardwine, a sophomore says the larger issue is the government involvement within the tobacco business.

“The dollar rules everything in this country and they want to limit smoking, but still want the tax revenues,” said Boardwine. “If the government wants to solve the problem they should declare it an illegal drug, stop supporting the tobacco industry and have effective treatment programs for those who are addicted.”