Would you steal candy from a baby? No? Well now’s the time to look at the comparison of a child and a lollipop to that of a college student and a cigarette. Starting Jan. 9, 2013, a smoking ban is supposed to take effect across the University of South Dakota campus. My only thought is that this just isn’t fair.
Incoming first-year students, much like myself, are creating a new life, with new decisions, new choices and new stresses. Smoking helps relieve some of this, and if the school really wants any of us to feel at home, I feel like I should be able to smoke freely, without any resentment. Although I do completely understand why some people would disagree with smoking — it’s not by any means a healthy habit — I still do not believe in their right to take that choice away. Considering that I’ve never smoked around someone who did not like it, I try to not blow smoke anywhere near other people, and I completely follow the rules when it comes to smoking within 25 feet of entrances, I feel like I’m already compromising what I want to do for the school.
So, the fact that tobacco is legal for myself, as for the majority of campus, I find it infuriating that my already limited rights are now being infringed upon. Last time I checked, it’s my body and I can do whatever I please with it. If I want to riddle myself with nicotine, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Without it, I’m not really a nice person. This is a very common side effect of smoking, as the rest of smokers on campus could agree. That being said, I don’t understand why the university would possibly want to deal with a great deal of their students and faculty being aggressively aggravated. Not a good situation, if you ask me.
While the subject of having an angry smoker is already in the air, I don’t think rebelling would be very far off from happening with the smoking ban in place. Not to mention that it would be ridiculously difficult for the ban to be enforced, because smokers are smokers. They’re going to smoke, regardless of a rule or not, and the school honestly just doesn’t have enough personnel to fully enforce the ban.
Making progress for the sake of progress, the school is trying to fix something that is not even broken; smokers are hurting no one but themselves. Unless, of course, someone decided that they were going to make a horrible decision and put their cigarette out on a random passerby. But hey, that doesn’t sound rational now, does it? Nope, didn’t think so.
Reach columnist Joscelyn Ragone at Joscelyn.Ragone@coyotes.usd.edu