Smoking ban is unnecessary

Outdoor smokers are an inconvenience to some, but not a public health risk.

Daily Editorial Board

Recently, the Student Health Advisory Committee started a push to ban smoking on the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Twin Cities campus, including outdoor areas. Banning smoking on the Twin Cities campus is a bad idea, and one doesnâÄôt have to be a smoker to oppose it.

First, the policy would be impossible to enforce. The Twin Cities campus is far larger than any of the other University satellite campuses that have banned smoking. Almost any use of the policeâÄôs time would be better and more productive than cruising this massive area in search of the odd smoker.

The size of campus would also make it difficult for smokers to get to a place that permitted smoking. Smoking cigarettes is legal âÄî it shouldnâÄôt be unreasonably inconvenient to do so, and one shouldnâÄôt have to leave campus to light up.

The current policy of making smokers stand 25 feet from building entrances is a good compromise. Smokers are out of the way of pedestrians and they have a place to dispose of their cigarette butts. If smoking were banned on campus, people would still smoke, but theyâÄôd no longer have designated areas to do so with the ability to dispose of their cigarette butts properly.

Getting a whiff of smoke while walking around campus is an inconvenience, not a public health risk sufficient to ban smoking on the entire campus. Being exposed to the habits of others that one finds distasteful is the cost of living in a diverse society. Everyone not sharing the same habits and behaviors is not something that needs correcting, especially when the system in place already prevents this habit from harming others.

In short, banning smoking on campus would be impractical, ineffective and unnecessary.