Smoking ban won’t solve problems

chris.paulus

I am a non-smoker. The threat of poor health and performance, lung cancer, steak lungs and wrinkles is enough to convince me that I don’t need to smoke. It doesn’t do anything for me. But I’m sure it does wonders for others. Unlike those who support a proposed smoking ban, my perspective on rights extends beyond self-interest.

Here’s the way I understand the smoking ban: If the campus-wide smoking ban is implemented, no one will be able to smoke anywhere on campus, not even in parking lots or vehicles. As far as I know, the fine for this terrible, sacrilegious offense hasn’t been released yet. Different variations of the ban have been proposed, such as allowing people to smoke in their cars, or building hot boxes around campus.

The idea of building hot boxes kind of defeats the purpose of having the ban, because the smoke will be released into the precious U.P. air anyway. But at least we’ll have disgusting hot boxes to stare at around campus. And hey, since we’re being fiscally frivolous, let’s finish renovating the dorms and put air conditioning in them, while we’re at it.

Before we reach the moral reasons to reject the smoking ban, let’s examine the practical: How will this be enforced? Well, I guess one can say that Public Safety has already done a great job enforcing the 30 foot distance rule, so how hard could it be to enforce non-smoking on an entire campus? Do people really think that college kids won’t smoke simply because it’s banned? Is Public Safety really going to be pulling people over and issuing tickets for smoking a completely legal drug in the privacy of their own car, while there are those smoking illegal drugs?

Unfortunately, Public Safety is not around all the time to protect non-smokers’ lungs from cigarette smoke. Non-smokers tend to exaggerate with their complaints about cigarette smoke. If the cigarette smoke bothers a non-smoker, it is his or her responsibility to deal with the problem, not the responsibility of the university or Public Safety. A non-smoker may think they shouldn’t have to slow down or walk faster to avoid a smoker, but here’s the deal: Everyone can choose to smoke or not. Non-smoker’s rights are already protected by the fact that smokers can’t smoke inside anymore.

Is this drug legal or not? Everywhere around the country, even in Michigan, cities and towns are proudly banning smoking. It’s quite the double standard: You can buy cigarettes anytime you want, but you’re only allowed to smoke them at certain times in certain places. Rights aren’t rights unless complete freedom is guaranteed. How can we even begin to call ourselves a free nation when every citizen isn’t guaranteed their rights? People have to remember that rights have a left side too, and it often goes unnoticed. It’s ridiculous that to some people this smoking ban is considered a progressive step. The only thing progressive about it is how it gets closer to the reduction of our rights.

I love to say it, but banning smoking won’t solve any problems. The truth is, regardless of whether or not this smoking ban is passed, teenagers are still going to smoke, people are still going to die of lung cancer, and the earth will still revolve around the sun.