Home Opinion Opinion: Smoking ban not the right answer for OU

Opinion: Smoking ban not the right answer for OU

6 min read

Coming into my second year as a student at Ohio University, I have heard my fair share of complaints about smoking on the Ohio University campus.

Ryan Lombardi addressed the situation in an e-mail comment to me.

“We’re actually just getting started on the tobacco-free initiative,” he said. “Our goal is to be tobacco free in three years.  We’ll begin discussing how to do this beginning this fall. Our discussions will involve more detail about enforcement, policy, education and support. None of these issues have been resolved yet, we’re simply publicly stating a goal to be tobacco-free in three years,” he said.

Ohio does have its own policies on the books concerning tobacco usage.

Ohio University approved “Policy and Procedure 44:113: Smoking” on March 9, 2009.  It mandated: “Due to the acknowledged hazards arising from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke or secondhand smoke, Ohio University will provide a smoke-free environment for all employees, students, and visitors. This policy covers the smoking of any tobacco or other plant product; it applies to employees, students, and visitors of Ohio University.”

This might not be enough as far as the state of Ohio is concerned. The Ohio Board of Regents, which oversees colleges and universities within the state, voted unanimously to render a suggestion to all Ohio public universities to ban smoking on campus in July of 2012. Ultimately, the school’s individual Board of Trustees will have the final say as to whether tobacco products are banned on campus

As conversations concerning a prospective ban swirl all around Athens about a tobacco and smoking ban on campus, I can’t help but feel strongly about several factors in this situation.

Though it is well within a person’s right to smoke and do to their bodies as they please, I would prefer not to have smokers around me while on campus.

Whether students smoke for pleasure, relaxation, the social aspect of it, or whatever it may be, they should be free to do so—but I feel that there should be designated areas for smoking. It would have to be more of an honor system for those to not smoke. The Court St. and downtown area is quite an indistinct location and figurative lines would have to be drawn to dictate where people can or cannot smoke.

People would surely be agitated. Undoubtedly some people would be upset. There might be some lashing out towards the administration concerning civil liberties and individual rights. Even as what seems to be a majority of students are in favor of such a ban, there has been plenty of pushback towards the idea.

As a non-smoker myself, smoking does not appeal to me. This does not mean that I have the right to tell people not to smoke. I would suggest that designated smoking areas be made for places on the outskirts of campus, like behind South Green, beyond the confines of the South Green intramural athletic fields, north of Court St., or to the west or east of campus.

I will not claim to have an answer or permanent fix. I feel as if a temporary solution should come down sooner than the planned three years, and then a more in-depth conversation can take place. I’m not predisposed to a ban for good at present time.

Until then, smokers can probably be a bit more courteous to those around them. Those of us who do not smoke realize you are not intentionally trying to breathe in our faces, but a bit of common courtesy is appreciated at least. This is a conversation that continues to be worth having.


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