A campus wide smoking ban isn’t a ban that eliminates your individual freedoms, but is one that respects the individual freedoms of others.
From the state of New York, where smoking is eliminated from many public spaces, to the state of Iowa, where smoking is banned in bars and restaurants, it is clear that the University of South Dakota should lead South Dakota to a better quality of life. Even the American Lung Association gives the entire state of South Dakota a letter grade of “F” for tobacco prevention, a “C” for Cigarette Tax, a “D” for Cessation and South Dakota’s highest grade is only a “B,” which represents smoke-free air.
So, wouldn’t it just make sense if USD, an academic institution, lead the way to prevent tobacco use on its very own campus as well as help raise the grades of the state? The battle of a smoking ban isn’t the lack of knowledge that a product is bad for you, but is more of the ignorance of its users. Those who have been smoking all of their lives are a different story, but more can be done to prevent the use of tobacco for future generations. Many people choose to smoke, only because of its benefits at work of taking extra breaks or because of the cool factor that existed ever sense the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel.
Today, however, is not represented by the Marlboro Man or Joe Camel but is represented by the cold hard truth of cancer patients of all kinds, rising health care costs, and the deaths of more than 443,000 people in America alone, as well as over six million around the world according to the AMA.
USD is simply doing the right thing by banning smoking on campus. After all, USD’s focus is on the education of its students, the quality of their education and the quality of their lives after their education.
The facts are simply the facts, and it is clear that allowing smoking is simply a bad choice. I not only support the smoking ban, but I would also support those caught, and those that are ignorant of the existence of a smoking ban to face a fine and are made to take a mandatory class to show that they truly do understand what a smoking ban means.
Eliminate the mornings of walking to campus with smoke blowing in your face, where depending upon the wind, the smoke is clearly less than 25 feet away from doorways.
Eliminate ignorance. Eliminate a preventable statistic for our fellow students in their later years in life. Help to reduce overall health care costs, and help raise the state’s grade according to other valuable institutions.
Set a goal that South Dakota, led by USD, will be the first state with all “A’s” for a report card, and next semester when the smoking ban is officially implemented, celebrate its success annually on World No Tobacco Day May 31, whether there are classes or not.
Introduce a clear display in the main entrance of the library where students can drop off the packages of their cigarettes and showcase to others that it is possible to kick the habit once and for all.
Celebrate a step in the right direction for not only USD and the state, but for the entire country.
Reach columnist Jake Jungers at Jake.Jungers@coyotes.usd.edu