The right to smoke outside

SHAC is again — and regrettably — pushing for an outdoor smoking ban.

by Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota Daily reported Nov. 18 that the Student Health Advisory Committee is again pushing to restrict students from smoking outdoors on campus. The next day, in a different report, David Golden, SHACâÄôs advisor and director of Boynton Health Service, told the Daily that the smoking rate on campus is as low as itâÄôs ever been, at 2.6 percent.
The reasons SHAC should put its efforts into more pressing issues than outdoor second-hand smoke are abundant, but the most apparent among them is that outdoor smoke doesnâÄôt really pose a danger to anyone on campus.
The only real purpose we see in SHACâÄôs attempt at an institutional outdoor smoking ban is to prevent more people from smoking, which we find to be a well-intentioned but nevertheless entirely unnecessary overextension into lives of the few hundred of students, faculty and staff who decide to light up on campus.
Should SHAC want to tackle tobacco addiction on campus, we urge it to continue its admirable efforts to advocate for more robust cessation programs and outreach about such programs. WeâÄôd much rather see a Student Health Advisory Committee committed to thinking of creative ways to provide students with positive incentives to kick nicotine habits than a committee thatâÄôs working to take away studentsâÄô decision to smoke outside through punitive regulations. The decision to smoke, after all âÄî when executed outdoors âÄî is only really affecting the individual. And the worst way to prevent someone from making  it on a regular basis is to tell them itâÄôs not theirâÄôs to make.