Should smoking be outlawed?

It’s seem that more and more communities are forbidding smoking through various means—UNC Chapel Hill has decided that smoking will be banned within 100 ft. of university property.That means no one, not students, not professors, not staff, not visitors can smoke for the duration of the time that they remain on campus.This, of course, has been decided for the benefit of everyone’s health, as medical studies have shown that nonsmokers do have a risk of developing lung cancer; Dana Reeves is the highest-profile example of this.

Now, I don’t know how the university plans to enforce this, nor do I think it lawfully can be enforced, but regardless, I believe policies like these are intended to make smokers feel like criminals.They must lurk in the dark corners to nurse their habit—even smoking areas are forbidden on campus.I’m not a smoker but I think that it’s ridiculous to try and legislate such laws against a legal vice.Until the day that cigarettes are contraband, doesn’t it seem that such actions infringe on the bill of rights?

As the medical literature does prove that proximity to smoke can cause lung cancer, I would be in favor of forbidding it from entrances, buildings, etc.But UNC has a plethora of wide open spaces; I don’t understand why smoking areas couldn’t be allowed in the middle of them.Are people incapable of granting smokers a wide berth?There are plenty of paths to take to any building.

I also think it’s insulting that the University’s answer to concerns about the policy is to refer people to resources that help fight nicotine addiction.As in, the only possible reaction people could have is to try and quit, not try and fight for their rights.

What do you think?Am I overacting and such policies aren’t really a big deal and are better for everyone?Or do such actions want to make you step to the window and scream that you’re mad as hell as well?

5 comments for “Should smoking be outlawed?

  1. virginia
    January 6, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    NCSU is enacting a smoking ban anywhere within 25 feet of campus buildings in 2008. This is far more feasible than UNC’s plan, and will be greatly appreciated. There is one entrance to the library, and you cannot leave or enter without being bombarded by cigarette smoke.

    I think that ALL indoor spaces should be smoke free. Restaurants, bars, the whole lot of them. I would be far more inclined to go play pool and hang out in bars if I could mark getting a cigarette smoke headache off from my list.

  2. becca
    January 6, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    25 feet is something I can accept and maybe even support. I agree, nonsmokers shouldn’t have to wade through smoke to enter buildings. And I really don’t think banning smoke from inside buildings hurts businesses as some folks claim but that may be because it was banned in CA from the time I was little, so I’m used to that and don’t think bars, etc., closed as a result. Perhaps a bit of a dip in sales until people got used to it! But I think 100 feet, without setting up smoking areas, is ridiculous and infringes on the rights of smokers.

  3. Antony
    March 14, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    My wife is upstairs at UNC Medical Center (Chapel Hill). She had been there for two days – during which I have periodically left the building and walked down at least 300 feet from the Hospital entrances (and off into the non cordoned off mud of a construction area – Saturday – no one working). Just a couple hours ago one of the Hospital Police came and told me there are cameras watching me and if I light another cigarette on State property, he will charge me $500 for each instance they have on tape over the last 24 hours. I said “Yes sir”…”Understood”… then asked him where I could smoke… he again said something about “State Property”… he never did answer my question. Great town…

    • becca
      March 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm

      Wow, Antony, that’s quite the story. I feel for you. It must be hard to feel like a criminal while you’re already going through so much. I know I used to see some hospital employees smoking in the woods behind the hospital, though that’s probably not an allowed (nor safe) area to smoke either.

  4. May 4, 2009 at 6:04 am

    I would recommend people now switch to the concept of electronic smoking. I use it and am very happy to quit real smoking.

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