Take Your Cigarettes Off Campus
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 13:09
The smoking debate is as old as most of the people reading this newspaper. We grew up with anti-smoking counseling sessions in elementary school, we participated in DARE in middle school, and by the time we got to high school, we had the lowest smoking rates of any generation in the 20th century.
My freshman year, the students passed a resolution to ban smoking on campus. It was a landmark move for the student body, especially in a state with a tendency to eschew regulation. However, that resolution is not a legal act, meaning that no punishment is handed down to those who are caught in violation of the resolution.
Because the resolution fails to punish violators of the smoking ban, the temptation to smoke on campus is much greater. Though smoking on campus has declined greatly since the passing of the resolution, I still come upon violators at least a couple of times per week.
Like I said, the debate is older than I am, so it sickens me that I have to sit here on my soapbox and lecture people about secondhand smoke. Regulating the areas where people can smoke is not infringement on the rights of those who smoke; it is upholding the rights of those who do not smoke.
I do not want to hear how inconvenient it is for you to walk off campus to ‘enjoy’ a cigarette. I do not want to hear that ‘it’s not a big deal, man.’ I do not care. You have a right to smoke cigarettes, yes indeed. You have a right to inhale poisonous fumes from a stick full of dried leaves and tar and nicotine. You have a right to give yourself cancer, drain your bank account, and yellow your teeth. And you know what, I’d fight for your right to do so – that’s what America is about.
But you lose that right when it infringes upon the rights of other Americans to a healthy body and a long life. See, we didn’t choose to inhale poisonous fumes from $5-a-pack cancer sticks. We didn’t decide to get addicted to something that will eventually give us cancer, blind us, put holes in our throats, and kill us.
So we shouldn’t have to deal with that. We shouldn’t have to put up with cancer and death just because you went and got addicted to cigarettes and are too lazy to walk off campus to smoke them.
The students of North Dakota State voted to keep cigarettes off their campus. And no, you won’t get arrested for smoking them here, but have a little respect. Don’t stand on the west side of University at the corner of Administration Ave. and smoke your death sticks. I walk past there every day, as do hundreds of other kids who just want to go to school and not get cancer in the attempt.
Walk across the street. Down the block. Somewhere where you aren’t killing everyone around you.
Nathan is a senior majoring in landscape architecture. Follow him on twitter @nwstottler.