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The Daily 49er’s thoughts on the smoking ban announced by President Conoley

Daily 49er Staff

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Let’s be clear on one thing; there shouldn’t be anyone left that thinks smoking is good for them. We no longer live in an age where we can claim ignorance.

But that also means that the people who smoke tobacco are consciously making a choice against healthy habits. Yet next year, California State University, Long Beach will attempt to make that choice for them.

President Conoley broke the news at this year’s convocation that smoking will be banned from campus by August 2016.

This is clearly a noble goal on its surface, but also represents a broad overreach for the university.

This plan to eliminate smoking will begin with the launch of the Breathe Campaign from CSULB, which will focus on encouraging students to quit their habit.

As if it were only that easy.

If smoking were simply a rational decision, then it would already be eliminated from campus.

But within the community of CSULB students, there are a great many who smoke because they either enjoy it or can’t live without it. And the school plans to tell that group to go elsewhere.

Where is that elsewhere? Well, imagine you are sitting in a long lecture in the Hall of Science and want to duck out for a quick stress-reliever. What once would have been a quick five minutes and back will soon require a 30-minute walk to make it to the borders of the campus.

The school can say that they are not making the decision for the students, that they are still free to smoke if they choose, but this isn’t a reasonable choice at all. Students will either need incredibly understanding professors, or incredibly patient nerves.

This type of catch-22 illustrates a lack of foresight in this plan.


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In an interview with the Daily 49er, Conoley also added that ashtrays would be removed from the campus along with the ban. The school clearly won’t need them anymore once smoking is banned on campus. As long as every smoker changes their lifestyle accordingly.

But why would they? Also in the interview, Conoley said that the school does not plan on actually issuing citations to smokers for up to three years. No reprimanding, no need to change.

The reality is that there will still be smoking on campus. In hidden pockets around the school, in packed parking lots and in at the bus stops there will still be smoking. There just won’t be ashtrays, meaning there will be cigarette butts, lots and lots of them.

But along with angry adults lacking cigarettes, scattered cigarette butts in dark corners across campus and stressed-out smokers looking for another vice, CSULB will be a host to a lack of acceptance.

Yes, cigarette smoke is annoying when it’s blown in your face. And yes, cigarettes are not the only way to relieve stress.

But the choice to smoke is a human right. What we do to ourselves to relax and prepare for the next class is not the university’s business.

Again, students on campus are adults; if they choose and want to smoke, they deserve to. Sometimes you need a light in the darkness of your school day.


2 Responses to “The Daily 49er’s thoughts on the smoking ban announced by President Conoley”

  1. Goat on September 3rd, 2015 9:24 am

    The thing is, your smoking does affect all of us as we have to walk through smoking to get to class. No one wants the smell of smoke on their clothes or to breathe it in and shouldn’t have to especially with the amount of money they pay as well.

    If you want to smoke, go smoke in your car or somewhere where thousands of people aren’t walking around.

    Smokers being upset is almost the equivalent of someone who needs to play the drums to relax and relieve stress. I don’t think anyone would want to accommodate that especially considering like smoking…it affects all of us.

  2. Donna Rutledge-Goulden on September 8th, 2015 10:58 pm

    As a 2012 graduate and a disabled student with asthma, I am glad there is going to be a smoking ban. I can’t count how many times I was forced to steer my wheelchair though cigarette smoke because ashtrays were placed at the top or bottom of the only access ramps available to get where I was going. It was because of the cigarette smoke that i would get really sick and miss class.

    I understand a person’s right to smoke, but I also had the right to not have to be subjected to the secondhand smoke and its affects on my body.

    Kudos to President Conoley

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