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Campus smoking ban needs stronger support

By Ronny O'Leary, Special to The Chronicle

How many times has this happened to you? You are walking back from class or relaxing outside when someone lights a cigarette right near you. What is your first thought? Do you think it's gross? Do you walk by and ignore it?

This has happened to me many times, and I always think, "That is disgusting. We need stricter rules."

The current rules about on-campus smoking states that smokers must be at least 20 feet from a building. Let me tell you, this needs to change! In the first place, many people do not even follow this 20 feet rule.

When the weather is nice, I often do homework right outside my building. It's a calm atmosphere until someone comes out, stands near me, and immediately lights a cigarette.

It takes all of my strength not to call them out for disobeying the rule. Furthermore, the rule does not protect people who have to walk by someone smoking more than 20 feet from a building.

A couple weeks ago, I took a survey on whether or not I would support a smoking ban on campus. Of course, my answer was an emphatic yes. We should continue to support a smoking ban because of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke like coughing, difficulty breathing in the short term and heart disease and cancer in the long term.

With this issue, students actually have a voice in the issue. Anyone that is in the Student Government Association should continue to push for the ban, and people who know SGA members should encourage them to promote the ban.

In addition, David Zuniga, the president of SGA, needs to continue finding out how people feel on the issue. Let your voice be heard!

Of course, some might say that a smoking ban would be a huge change because it would upset people who feel comfortable smoking on campus.

This is certainly true, but not having a ban will upset people who are concerned about the harmful effects of smoking.

We must decide if we want to ensure healthy living conditions for students or to let people light up wherever they please. A college is supposed to be a place where we can live and work in a healthy and safe environment. How can we do that when people are releasing harmful chemicals into the air? Therefore, I urge everyone to support the smoking ban on campus and promote the conditions necessary to enjoy our time in college.

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