Don’t smoke but don’t ban

Daniel Grosso

I don’t smoke. I’ve never felt compelled to start and I probably never will. That being said, I do not vilify smokers as many do. I can walk by a man with a cigarette and remain quite unphased, a stark contrast to society’s response.

For reasons unbenounced to me, our new war is on tobacco. New laws seem to emerge each day to cripple the smoker. In my lifetime I’ve seen smoking banned in restaurants and cars in certain states, many parks, schools and large areas of the great outdoors.

Quinnipiac already has an absolute ban on smoking at the North Haven Campus, which as a commuter campus is not unreasonable, but just the thought of a ban at the Mount Carmel or York Hill campuses is absurd.

I fully understand the rationale behind a ban at Quinnipiac, and, being a private university, the school is entirely justified to do so, but it simply does not make any sense to me.

Smoking cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars is a completely legal action and the user assumes all risks associated. I understand the concept of “secondhand smoke,” however, any student who would complain of this health risk on a college campus would be remiss. The legitimacy of secondhand smoke is still up for debate, but, assuming the phenomenon does exist, it is a health risk associated with prolonged or recurring exposure to tobacco fumes.

Sorry, Bobcats, passing someone with a cigarette on the way to the library is not going to kill you. There are no health risks associated with the occasional smoker on campus. The only potential nuisance would be the smoke’s odor, but it cannot be anywhere near as offensive as the trees by the suites in the spring.

Similarly to driving without a seatbelt, all risks associated with smoking tobacco products are assumed by the user. If a student, professor or any other member of the Quinnipiac community has the desire or need to smoke a cigarette during the day, then that right should not be infringed. The only person they would be hurting would be themselves. They would be the only one inhaling the smoke and therefore the only being introducing carcinogens into their body.

Smoking tobacco products is an entirely legal action, and therefore one we need to leave alone. Smokers are already crippled enough as taxes drive cigarette prices through the roof. There is no need to further punish people who wish to practice an entirely legal action. They are not hurting anyone else, and any inconvenience they may cause to other members of the community is fleeting and otherwise minor.

Instead of pushing for Quinnipiac to ostracize and fight a segment of its law-abiding population maybe students should look to enforce actual prohibited activity on campus. Smoking marijuana and underage drinking are both illegal actions, and both remain prevalent at Quinnipiac. Drugs and alcohol both present tremendous health risks to their users, but for some reason students at Quinnipiac show a strange complacency towards their usage.

It seems strange, but many members of Quinnipiac’s community turn their nose at the sight of someone smoking a cigarette. However, this is a legal action and a freedom we possess as adults in the United States. There are more pressing issues facing this campus, and Quinnipiac will forever be better off spending its resources combatting a real problem.