Following the lead of USF Health and other state universities, leadership at USF is now poised to implement a campus-wide smoking ban. A university task force has been created to study the issues complexities and school spokesman Michael Hoad openly professes the bans virtues and support from administration.
While the intentions behind the ban are altruistic, smoking is still a personal choice. Conversely, inhalation of secondhand smoke is not.
Therefore a smoking ban on campus shouldnt be out of the question. However, any ban must feature designated smoking sections, which would be in the best interest of non-smokers, smokers and the bans overall ability to promote a healthy atmosphere.
Beyond being a habitual activity, smoking tobacco is extremely addictive as addictive as amphetamines, heroin or cocaine, according to the New York Times.
This reality makes dropping the habit extraordinarily difficult, with many failing to do so even with the assistance of advanced cessation products and procedures. Forcing smokers at USF some of whom have been smoking for decades to suddenly stop is unreasonable at best and, at worst, just plain cruel.
Additionally, any ban that lacks smoking sections would also be self-defeating.
Not being able to smoke anywhere on campus will put tremendous strain on the large number of faculty, staff and students who smoke and are also dealing with the daily pressures of their on-campus responsibilities.
Its inevitable that some will refuse or be unable to abide by a campus-wide ban, especially one that will not be enforced by campus police. And since they cant smoke anywhere, theyll smoke everywhere.
Designated smoking sections away from building entrances and walkways would offer smokers a place to migrate and socialize with other smokers, all without sporadic clouds of secondhand smoke billowing over campus and offending non-smokers. It also takes away any excuse for smoking in crowded areas.
Since only about one in five Americans smoke according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they represent a minority of the U.S. population. But in any democratic society, serving the interest of the majority requires a careful balancing act that still protects the rights of the minority.
A total campus-wide ban would outlaw smoking in the most secluded corners of campus and even in personal vehicles, an unrealistic expectation that would be just as exaggerative and discriminatory as it is ineffective.
If administrators wish to truly promote a healthy campus that offers non-smokers the fresh air they deserve, the most effective action would be to act fairly and establish smoking sections away from the campuss most crowded areas.