Opinion: LU on fire: time to go smoke-free

Design by Kelby Lorenz These statistics were taken from a 2015 student survey done by Lindenwood University covering views on tobacco.

Viktoria Muench | Editor-in-Chief
From Print [Feb. 16, 2016] | Legacy

Lindenwood seems to be open to make many changes to improve our campus culture. However, when it comes to a potential ban of cigarettes on campus, it’s the students who have differing opinions about it.

The number of colleges in North America to go smoke-free in the last five years has tripled. According to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights’ website, there are at least 1,475 smoke-free campuses as of Jan. 1, 2016. In 2011, there were only 586 schools.

Although Lindenwood is constantly evolving and making efforts to improve the campus culture, just being a dry campus is not enough anymore. If safety and the health of students truly is a concern to the university, then it’s time to promote a smoke-free campus as well. The current policy in regards to the issue states that smoking, or any type of tobacco use including smokeless tobacco, such as E-cigarettes or vapor pens, is completely prohibited inside all Lindenwood campus buildings and facilities. Smoking outside of buildings, though, is still allowed.

Design by Kelby Lorenz These statistics were taken from a 2015 student survey done by Lindenwood University covering views on tobacco.
Design by Kelby Lorenz
These statistics were taken from a 2015 student survey done by Lindenwood University covering views on tobacco.

A 2015 survey that was sent out to the Lindenwood student body says that 93 percent of students asked don’t smoke. While this percentage of smokers seems to be fairly low, in relation to Lindenwood’s population with over 17,000 students, there would still be over 1,000 students who do smoke. This number is still high enough to have a negative impact on campus.

On the way to and from class, the chances of walking behind or beside someone who smokes are very high. Whether someone likes the smoke from cigarettes or not, in a case like this, they have no chance but to inhale it and instantly become secondhand smokers. Also, smokers usually gather in groups in front of buildings and walking past them has a similar effect. There, the amount of smoke is even bigger, and avoiding it is almost impossible.

Since tobacco disposing receptacles are located right by the entrances or doorways of campus buildings, the smoke also finds its way inside, which is disgusting, especially when it involves residence halls. These smoking areas are also scattered with ash and cigarette butts, which is not only responsible for even more unnecessary stench, but also for the increase of dirt and uncleanliness around campus.

There are remnants of used cigarettes all over the school. Introducing a tobacco ban that prohibited cigarettes on campus would help keep it clean. Lindenwood is known for its beautiful campus. Any additional trash, even as small as a cigarette, eliminates a piece of that beauty and idyllic environment.

Additionaly, according to Toabcco Free Missouri’s website, a person’s cardiovascular system is put under stress and damaged, just minutes after exposure to secondhand smoke, which causes heart diseases, strokes and cancer.

I don’t have an issue with anyone who chooses to smoke, as long as that person politely takes everyone around him or her into consideration. However, the risks of getting cancer are still there, even as a secondhand smoker. A tobacco-free campus would simply eliminate these health risks. Banning cigarettes is not only necessary to maintain a clean school that promotes health, it also seems to be what the majority of students want. Sixty-two percent of students participating in the 2015 survey are in favor of a tobacco-free school, and now it’s time to make that change.

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