SHOULD BU BECOME A SMOKE FREE CAMPUS?

by Danielle Smith on February 17, 2014

SHOULD BU BECOME A SMOKE FREE CAMPUS?

Now I know what you may be thinking. Based on the title of this blog post one might speculate something such as: here goes another person trying to preach to me the drawbacks of smoking. However, it is neither my desire nor intention to sway your view on smoking, neither is it my goal to advocate for a smoke free campus. In this blog post I attempt to concisely explore both sides of an argument from an objective (unbiased) standpoint. My ultimate goal is to present you with facts with some of my objective opinions, and hopefully get you to think about how you would respond to the question: Should BU become a smoke free campus?

I shall start my analysis by first taking what I like to call the “logical” stance on this argument, by advocating for a smoke free campus. I refer to this as the “logical” stance because as college students we all have heard dozens of times that smoking is directly correlated with an increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease. Therefore, if this habit is generally thought of as being bad for your health, logically you would think that a university would be pro smoke free campus, hence why I deem it the logical standpoint.

When considering a smoke free campus, one must look at the benefits. If BU were to ban smoking, this could a have a positive affect on the health of students who smoke and the entire student population that walk up and down Commonwealth Ave everyday. Why the entire population of Comm Ave? Well, when a student smokes a cigarette outside, he or she is giving off what we all know as second hand smoke. According to WebMD: “most of the smoke from a burning cigarette doesn’t get sucked down into a smoker’s lungs — it escapes into the air, where it can be inhaled by anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby.” Based on this fact, non-smokers who frequently walk by a group of smokers on campus also have an increased risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease. The exact numbers according to WebMD are a “20-30% increase in lung cancer risk, and a 25-30% increase in heart disease.” It is also a fact that “[s]econdhand smoke exposure causes nearly 50,000 deaths in adult nonsmokers in the U.S. each year” (WebMD, 2014).

BUT WAIT!!!!!

Remember my promise of an objective argument? Well let me now give you the facts as to why BU should not become a smoke free campus. One obvious reason, in my opinion, is that most universities allow smoking on campus. In fact “As of 2008, only about 1% of U.S. colleges and universities are tobacco free” (Tobaccofreeu). Therefore if BU wanted to become a smoke free university, an avid smoker might feel inclined to apply to the other 99% of universities in the country that would allow him or her to get a degree and smoke at the same time. Now let me complicate things a bit further. If you have ever taken a microeconomics course, and even those of you who have not, you will understand a simple idea called “substitute goods”. Basically, if the price of coffee for example goes up, people would buy less coffee and buy more of a cheaper substitute aka tea. Therefore coffee and tea are substitute goods. The same logic can be applied to cigarettes. “A smoking-only ban could inadvertently cause a rise in other tobacco usage. With no smoking on campus, students may become more aware of spit tobacco use.” (Tobaccofreeu) So if the University were to ban smoking, it would be easy for a smoker to find other non-smoke tobacco products to compensate for the ban on cigarettes, and the smoking ban becomes a minute factor, and virtually ineffective.

So there you have it. One argument pro ban, the other argument against a ban of smoking on campus. I personally am not a smoker, so in reality I do have some personal biases with regards to this topic. But just considering the content of this post, it is up to you to decide what you think the University should do. Keep in mind that there are several other factors I could not included in this blog post ( given the word count constraints etc.) that could be affected because of a ban or because of continued allowance of smoking. Hopefully I got you to think about your stance on this argument.

Let me know what you think: SHOULD BU BECOME A SMOKE FREE CAMPUS?

Sources:

“Effects of Secondhand Smoke.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.
“Students Debate Smoke-free Campus.” Tallahassee Democrat. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.
“Benefits of Tobacco-Free Policy vs. Smoke-free Policy.” Tobaccofreeu. The Bacchus Network, n.d. Web.


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