ABOUT THE QUICK TAKE
AU President Neil Kerwin recently came out in support of a ban on smoking on the campus. With the question of personal freedom conflicting with health concerns and irritability from second-hand smoke for the rest of the student body, the Quick Take takes aim at the proposed change.
By Robert Brockmeijer
Statistics published in a recent article by USA Today show that as of July 1, 2012, 774 college campuses in the USA have banned smoking on campus, and more schools are joining in banning smoking each year. Recent discussions led by AU officials, including President Neil Kerwin, indicate that our school might very well be on that list in a matter of time. Officials have been discussing plans to propose a campus-wide smoking ban at AU and we can expect to hear more about it in the semesters to come.
It seems that none of the smokers on campus want universal smoking rights, they just don’t want to be kicked off campus. Instead of a complete ban on smoking, AU should have a more reasonable solution, one that will satisfy all parties involved.
I understand that some people might not want to walk through entire clouds of smoke while getting to and from class, but they will not need to if there are specific smoking areas on campus.
There are already smoker poles out on campus. But let’s be honest: they are not quite in the right locations. If you walk outside of MGC, there is a smoker pole at the entrance. This isn’t exactly out of the way and defeats the purpose of the smoking pole in general. If these smoker poles would be placed slightly out of the way of the main roads on campus, as opposed to right in front of buildings, or 20 feet off campus, then that would work better for everybody.
Of course, there are people who think that having smoking sections on campus is the same as having a peeing section in the swimming pool. But I find that a bit of an exaggeration. If you live in a city such as D.C., you will be exposed to smoke, car fumes and other sorts of gasses harmful to the lungs anyway. Designated smoking sections, which are located slightly off to the side of any main path, will provide everyone with a fair compromise.
As long as smokers get to smoke without having to walk all the way off campus, and people who do not wish to walk through clouds of smoke can easily avoid these designated smoking areas, it should be a fair deal.
Robert Brockmeijer is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences.
By Maddie Ecker
For all teenagers, turning 18 is a rite of passage. At long last, privileges that have always been out of reach are finally within our grasp. Privileges such as getting a tattoo, voting and yes, buying cigarettes rain down upon teenagers as they hit their 18th birthday.
Not everyone will bask in these newfound freedoms. Some people scoff at the idea of getting a tattoo or smoking a cigarette just because they can. For others, their 18th birthday is seen as a first step into adulthood without having mommy and daddy hold their hand.
Cigarettes seem like the quintessential image of independence. They’re everywhere, especially on college campuses where the students are free to govern themselves without the watchful eye of their parents.
However, here at AU, someone else is watching out for the student body.
President Neil Kerwin recently came out in support of banning cigarettes on campus. The damage that cigarettes cause not only to the person smoking them, but also to the people that inhale the second-hand smoke, is undeniable. But once a person can legally buy cigarettes, it is their decision to smoke or not.
While it is understandable that Kerwin wants to take action against cigarettes in order to promote health and wellness on campus, I feel like it will be difficult to implement a smoking ban after allowing smoking to occur for so long. I think that the smoking policy at AU – which is that there are certain designated spots for smokers – is fair for everyone. Those who choose to smoke have a spot to do so in, while those who can’t stand the stench can choose to stay away from the designated spots. To get rid of smoking on campus all together seems extreme, especially because most college students are 18 or older and can legally purchase cigarettes.
Even if there is a ban, it won’t completely eliminate smoking from the campus. The fact that there is already a set of established rules about smoking seems like enough of a restriction, especially because people actually adhere to the regulations laid down by the University. It all comes down to choice and whether people want to make the right ones for their bodies.
Maddie Ecker is a freshman in the School of Communication.
By Pranay Ahluwalia
In President Neil Kerwin’s fall semester message, he stated that “it appears that smoke and tobacco free is the best option” for the AU campus. But, the question is whether it would really be the best option. Don’t get me wrong, second hand smoke annoys me as much as the next person, but is kicking people who smoke off campus really the best idea?
If a complete smoking ban was enacted and AU became a “smoke and tobacco free” campus, hundreds of smokers (if not many more) would be forced to migrate off campus just for that quick smoke. From the smokers’ point of view, this is inexplicably inconvenient. Sure, smokers might even be encouraged to quit because they wouldn’t be able to smoke as easily, but this would also act like a measure designed to target a not-so small minority within the student body. The ban seems contradictory to the all-inclusive and diverse image that AU promotes of itself.
We do need to curtail the smoking on our campus. However, we need to do this in a limited manner instead of a complete smoking ban. It would be better if a smoking ban were instituted over the general area of the campus, but only if the administration provided multiple designated smoking areas that are easily accessible to smokers. These could be small, enclosed spaces with ventilation systems that allow smokers to smoke while not directly affecting people passing by. With this, smokers could stay on-campus and be able to smoke conveniently while ensuring that it doesn’t negatively affect non-smokers.
Additionally, the administration could, in cooperation with student groups, launch an awareness campaign designed to educate students about the dangers of smoking and provide them with information with regard to quitting and other measures.
I don’t believe AU should be trying to eliminate smoking. Instead, they should be trying to accommodate it in a manner that benefits all affected parties.
Pranay Ahluwalia is a freshman in the School of International Service.