New approach needed for campus smoking policy

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If we hear about the smoking ban once more, we’ll have smoke coming out of our ears.

Even though this topic has been burned out like the cigarette butts littering campus, it’s apparent Buffalo State could be doing more to fix the problem.

More than 1,000 schools nationwide enforce 100 percent tobacco intolerance, and most, including the University at Buffalo and Niagara County Community College, do so effectively. So where has this college gone wrong?

Students who smoke near buildings or along the walkways on campus are not facing repercussions. University Police officers have allegedly been seen smoking on campus.

Everyone knows sanctioning students for lighting up on school grounds is the only way to force change under the current line of thinking.

New York State has yet to pass a legislation banning smoking from state-owned grounds, which would affect public schools. Without it, Buffalo State’s policy will remain toothless.

Something needs to be done.

The ban has been a talking point for the College Senate this semester. Campus officials recognize students, faculty and staff in large part ignore the rules.

Clearly, completely eradicating smoking on the premises isn’t effective, but alternatives are obtainable.

Perhaps designated areas need to be set up as a place for smokers to go get their tobacco fix.

We need a few spots around campus out of the rain and wind that tobacco users can use instead of building ledges. Smokers are not maliciously blowing their smoke into the lungs of passersby, but they do seek out a comfortable place to linger, which typically happens to be near the campus’ most trafficked areas.

Smoking can be therapeutic to some students, a relief from the daily stressors we all face.

Maybe instead of thinking of a way to get every tobacco user to abstain from their habit, which is their right to have, an emphasis should be placed on where people can smoke.

Mandating that people smoke a specific distance away from buildings puts people out into the snow and rain. If the only option for smokers is to be uncomfortable, conformity to policy is never going to happen.

Yes, education and cessation initiatives are nothing but positive, but the people who insist on smoking need to be accommodated, not ostracized.

If we can seek out alternatives rather than focusing solely on one ultimatum, smokers and non-smokers alike might finally reach a consensus on the best way to keep everyone happy.

 

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