University smoking ban pointless

To whom it may concern,

This email is in reply to the column entitled, “Smoking ban will infringe on students’ rights,” which appeared in the Aug. 30, 2013 edition of The BG News.

I fully support the opinion which the columnist expressed in their recent article on the looming smoking ban at the University. I am a non-smoker, so technically the ban does not affect me at all. But I fully agree that the smoking ban is an infringement on students’ rights.

Smokers should not be inconvenienced simply because some other anonymous people find it offensive or because the University wants to project a “green and clean” image. Yes, second-hand smoke is bad for you. So, the University should simply enforce the State of Ohio statute prohibiting smoking in front of entrances. Also, the University should provide smokers with places where they can engage in their habit away from entrances. Then, if students are concerned about second-hand smoke, they can simply avoid the designated smoking areas. This policy which I have just described has been implemented at Kent State University at Tuscarawas with runaway success.

Also, the columnist rightly brings up the issue of unintended consequences. Generally speaking, I believe most smokers are pretty considerate when it comes to realizing that others might not appreciate their second-hand smoke. This policy very well might undercut any such consideration that had previously existed as smokers rebel against this new draconian university policy.

I think campus demonstrations and student activism against the smoking ban are inevitable at this point. As we all know about public demonstrations, they are difficult to manage and can quickly escalate into something undesirable or even tragic.

Furthermore, the euphemism of the “University community” policing the new policy is laughable and potentially dangerous. What honestly engaged college student has the time to be running off to the administration every time he or she sees someone breaking the smoking ban? By the time someone responds to the alleged violation, the smoker and the evidence [if he/she is smart] will have completely disappeared.

Moreover, enforcing this policy puts students and university officials in a potentially dangerous or at least awkward situation of confronting the smoker. From personal experience, I can say that getting between a smoker and his/her nicotine fix could wind up being a very unpleasant experience. And what about potential backlash that students who report violations could face from smokers who consider them as “tattle-tales” or even “university-planted moles.”

To say the very least, the University administration must reconsider this policy direction. We are a democracy and pride ourselves on democratic compromises. Why not let the University students decide? Put the issue up to a campus-wide vote. We’re all adults here, and as the columnist so rightly pointed out, “we are all capable of making our own decisions.”

Michael Ginnetti