The Smoking Ban: Citations Just a Puff of Smoke

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The Voice staff is at is again. This week, Managing Editor Brendan Schaller, Features Editor Rebecca Hall, and the Opinion Team, Editor Nick Jones and his assistant Tali Zangari, have gotten into verbal warfare over the lack of banning in the campus smoking ban.

Brendan Schaller: In last week’s issue of The Voice, it was reported that very few students and staff, if any, have been cited for violating the smoking ban which is still in effect on campus. While I have seen people walk off campus property to smoke, I have also seen many people deliberately smoking on campus. I think if there is a law being broken, campus police should be enforcing it.

Rebecca Hall: In all honestly, I have seen only a few people smoking on campus. In any case it’s not the students’ and staff’s job to enforce the law, its the BU Police and their affiliate jobs.

Nick Jones: I’ve seen a lot of people smoking, but all of them have been heading off campus. I think the rule is ridiculous anyway. Why would we need to stop smoking outside when the law itself is called the “Clean Indoor Air Act.” Somehow, the quad seems not to fulfill this…

BS: I agree that outlawing smoking on campus is unnecessary.  I completely support designated areas on campus for smoking. However, it is a law that we have to at least respect. Underage drinking is illegal, and I’m sure many of us have done that, but I would never say it shouldn’t be enforced. As long as this law exists, it has to be enforced. I think it’s ridiculous that campus police care more about parking violations, which are a separate but vital issue on campus, than they do about a state law.

RH: Oddly enough, I also agree that this is a stupid law. Even though it’s in place, people still smoke, and it doesn’t stop cigarette smoke from floating its way in to my first floor window. But, if they are going to make it a law, it needs to be enforced in order for it to be taken seriously. If I was a smoker and I knew I wouldn’t get fined if I smoked on campus, I would SO continue to do so. No skin off my nose, though

NJ: Ok, so you’re saying that people don’t get upset at the cops for handing out underages, or for the more intrepid souls, possession and paraphernalia charges? I think not my friend. Becca, why do you think people are still smoking on campus? Not only is it their right, but the police aren’t enforcing it. I, for one, am glad they aren’t enforcing it. I may be a smoker, but I am also rather considerate and don’t light up when there is a large amount of students moving around me. I think that the smokers should continue to disobey this law. How did we get the civil rights movement? Peaceful protest, or as some people call it civil disobedience.

BS: I agree with idea of protesting. If students are so outraged they should stop complaining and do something about it. Peaceful protest raises a concern to administrators that students are upset. If enough schools out of the 14 in the PSSHE demonstrate their outrage, they may be prompted to reconsider their ruling or at least amend it to find a compromise. As for the underages, yes students get upset. But  you should look at the statistics of death, injury and crime that are the result of underage drinking. Such a law allows others to be mindful and responsible when participating in underage drinking. Many of us do it, but if there wasn’t a law, it would be out of control.

NJ: Not to budge in front of Becca, but obviously there is a major difference between smoking and drinking. Consuming alcohol obviously puts people in an amazing state of bliss, where no inhibitions stop you and you just have fun and act without worrying of the consequences…or so I have heard. That is most likely why there are laws about drinking in general. I can guarantee you that thousands of people were killed in accidents involving alcohol, whereas closer to a dozen involved cigarettes, if that.

RH: The whole thing with a law about cigarettes is that it’s more for those non-smokers than smokers. This way, the government can say they are protecting some people, since they have yet to outlaw tabacco altogether. I digress, I agree with Nick that you can’t put smoking and drinking laws in the same boat because I hear that alcohol inhibits you to the point where you may not remember what you are doing, which is dangerous. Granted smoking is also dangerous, but not to the same immediate degree.

NJ:Woot! I win.

Tali Zangari: Hey guys.

NJ: Welcome to the argumentative ring, Tali. What’s your take on this debate?

TZ: While I don’t really think that smoking is good for you, I feel that it should be up to the individual to decide whether or not to smoke, and when people walk around campus with their lit cigarettes and I get stuck behind them on my way to class, I feel like they’re infringing on my right to not smoke.  By the same token, if smoking is banned campus-wide, their right to smoke is being infringed upon.  My solution is to have designated smoking and non-smoking areas, and then everyone can choose whether they want to smoke, want to not smoke, or if they just don’t care either way.

NJ: Well spoken, assistant Lovebuckets. In any case, we will continue this argument next week, so check back in then. Feel free to send us your take on it on it as well.

Comments

comments

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  1. For starters, the Clean Indoor Air Act as a piece of legislation is absurd, with the possible exception of its application to indoor public spaces. However, the need for legislation pertaining to smoking specifically in such spaces is virtually nonexistent, as I have no recollection of ever in my lifetime (that’s almost two decades) visiting an American public building (think library, DMV, courthouse, etc.) in which smoking wasn’t already prohibited. As for private businesses such as restaurants and bars, it is — at a bare minimum — my opinion that this act violates the implied right of the property holder to control the use of legal substances in his/her establishment.

    To all you non-smokers who celebrate your new-found ability to ‘breathe easy’ when eating in a restaurant, I ask you this: What the hell was wrong with the non-smoking section? If you didn’t want to suffer any second-hand smoke prior to the enactment of this legislation, you needed only to request a seat anywhere but the SMOKING section. In regards to the issue of smoking outside of main building entrances, that’s an issue of lack of common courtesy and possibly basic human decency, which is a topic for a whole other op/ed. Finally, for those of you complaining about the smoke \trailing behind\ the person walking in front of you on campus with a lit cigarette, try taking a few steps back. I hear tell the stuff tends to travel upwards 😉

    CC

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