Smoking ban is a waste of time

The campus-wide smoking ban being discussed by administrators at the University of Minnesota is a polarizing issue. Some people believe that smoking on campus should be outlawed due to health risks associated with secondhand smoke. More utilitarian individuals believe that smoking on campus should be allowed, stating that people have a right to smoke as long as other people arenâÄôt seriously affected. Nevertheless, the proposed smoking ban is a gigantic waste of time and resources. This campus is simply too large to manage and enforce a smoking ban. In order to police and punish smokers to ensure that this campus is smoke free, the police force would have to be increased tenfold, and would have to devote an inordinate amount of time looking for smokers. University police have been stretched thin as it is. If the smoking ban were enacted, police would be forced to patrol campus grounds to find smokers and fine them. The department should have bigger things to worry about. The potential problems with a smoking ban at the University are confirmed by observing other colleges that have already outlawed smoking on their grounds, such as the Duluth campus. At University of Minnesota-Duluth, many students simply disregard the smoking ban. Ian Rea, a sophomore business student there believes that the ban is ineffective. âÄúI see people smoking all of the time around campus,âÄù says Rea. âÄúTo be honest, IâÄôve never seen a policeman patrolling for smokers, let alone give a smoker a citation.âÄù Judith Karon, director of human resources at the Duluth campus, admits that policing the campus has been difficult. âÄúIf you asked me if I think there are corners that [students] can go off and smoke, and not be noticed, IâÄôm sure there would be.âÄù If policing the situation at the Duluth campus, which utilizes less than 250 acres, is difficult, imagine regulating a campus of over 2000 acres. ItâÄôs simply not feasible. Meagan Manning, a first-year graduate student at the University and a five-year smoker, believes that an array of designated smoking areas would be a more realistic solution to the smoking problem on campus. âÄúI think that there definitely should be designated areas for [smokers]. As a legal activity, there should be places for it on campus. If it were an illegal activity, obviously it would be a different story. As it is a legal activity, I feel that it would be wrong to ban it on public property.âÄù Sanitation is another important issue that should be observed. If a smoking ban was enacted, ashtrays, which are present outside of almost every University building, will be removed. Addicted smokers who will undoubtedly ignore the ban will have no sanitary way to dispose of their cigarette butts, which will inevitably end up on the ground. According to Karon, this has also been a problem on campus at the Duluth campus. âÄúI am aware of [a problem regarding discarded cigarette butts]. The problem does get reported periodically.âÄù Butts will get discarded on the ground because people do not suddenly stop smoking. Smoking is an unhealthy habit that is very hard to kick. One University medical student, who wished to remain anonymous, indicated that a smoking ban on campus wouldnâÄôt curb his smoking at all. âÄúAs a medical school student, I am very aware of the risks associated with smoking. IâÄôve been trying to quit for two years. A ban on campus wonâÄôt stop me [from smoking]. If anything, IâÄôll stop smoking for myself, not the University.âÄù Please send comments to [email protected]