Smoking ban will infringe on students’ rights

Columnist and Columnist

Beginning next year, Bowling Green State University will attempt to accomplish a very difficult task: tell 35 percent of the student body that they can no longer freely smoke on campus.

Of course, many of you will continue smoking— and the University is fine with that, so long as you’re in an ill-lit space on campus or in a dark alley off of it.

Student smokers living on campus may be forced to put themselves in dangerous situations for the sake of some students who maybe think smoking is kind of gross sometimes.

Having said that, it’s unlikely that students will change their behaviors.

Besides, who’s to stop them from lighting one up outside of the residence halls? Enforcement of the policy will be the responsibility of the University community, which just sounds like a nicer way of what will really occur: students telling other students that their lifestyle choices offend them and that they must stop.

While supporters are hoping for a culture shift towards an anti-smoking campus, I believe a culture shift towards increased student-intolerance to be much more likely.

The new policy’s supposed goal is to create a healthier environment on campus, where students are free from secondhand smoke, but I wonder if that’s truly the case.

Recent comments made by some of the policy’s most ardent supporters have revealed that restricting student health choices played a major role. In fact, according to The BG News, the University has spent $9,000 to educate students on the new policy and, you guessed it, “programs to help [students] stop smoking.”

If the University was legitimately concerned about secondhand smoke risk, they would have first enforced the previous policy of 35 feet from any building before implementing such drastic new restrictions.

Smoking is bad for you. We’ve all known this for most of our lives. But so is alcohol, tanning and fast food. We wouldn’t necessarily want the University to control all of our other health choices and tobacco-use should not be any different.

Attempting to restrict and control the behavior of human beings almost always leads to unintended consequences. The University should reconsider the lifestyles of students and appreciate that we are all capable of making our own decisions.

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