Smoking Ban At Georgia Colleges?

December 2, 2013 12:10 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 14 comments

No_Smoking_by_kamineko831I’m not a fan of smoking. It’s a smelly, nasty habit that’s bad for you. However, it’s a legal product and smokers are mostly only harming themselves (I also think the effects of second-hand smoke are overblown), so what’s it to me?

Nevertheless, a member of the Board of Regents has proposed a complete ban on smoking at Georga’s colleges and universities. Under Regent Thomas Hopkins’ proposal, no “*student, staff, or visitor” would be allowed to smoke on campus….anywhere.

“Most of these kids start smoking at school because they think it looks cool and they’re away from home and their parents,” Hopkins said. “But, it’s not healthy and I would hope we would do something about that.” The board is likely to have some opposition from students. Student smokers see the ban as an intrusion on their rights.

“We’re paying to go to school and we should be allowed to do this. We’re not in high school anymore,” said Foster Bass, a botany student at Georgia Perimeter College.

Bass and his friends were standing outside on a recent day, across from the cafeteria in an area where smoking is allowed on the college’s Clarkston campus. Many in the group had been smoking about a fourth of their lives.

“This is not right and this ban would be ridiculous,” said Matthew, 19, a computer engineering student at GPC. “It would be just one more way of banning our freedom. I think they put too much emphasis on not smoking. This isn’t illegal.”

Oh, you silly, young, college students. You’re not capable of making decisions for yourself, someone smarter than you must do it for you.

So, is this a good idea or a bad one? Discuss.

peachpundit (@peachpundit) December 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm

New post: Smoking Ban At Georgia Colleges? http://t.co/d67nzaaa1E #gapol

Brett December 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Bad one.

Jon Lester December 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm

One can understand why California bans smoking on all state property, indoors and out, because of fire hazards, but otherwise, you’d be very hard-pressed to inhale too much secondhand smoke outdoors on a Georgia campus, with the entire planet’s atmosphere helping to dissipate it.

remy December 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

smoking on campus is just an annoying image, smokers often stand next to doorways or on sidewalks making everone walk through their smoke. Sure second hand smoke outside might not cause cancer, but it can be harmful to people with asthma, allergies, heart conditions, or who are pregnant. Anyone who is trying to quit has more difficulty if they see people standing around smoking, and some might take up the habit to fit in. Do people stand around drinking alcohol on campus all day? A ban shouldnt be a big deal, people are still free to walk or drive off campus to smoke. A ban should encourage people to quit, the more who quit, the less burdan on society down the road.

@JonGoodfriend December 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm

“@peachpundit: New post: Smoking Ban At Georgia Colleges? http://t.co/r6OA3gDdCH #gapol” @wnathan88

CJBear71 December 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm

The journal Environmental Health Perspectives (published jointly by NIH, HHS, and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) included an academic review of scholarly articles on outdoor second hand smoke. While second hand smoke was more transient and reduced back to background levels quickly, there was much more second hand smoke present in the outdoor smoking areas and in nearby enclosed areas and buildings. While World Health Organization says there is no level of second hand smoke that is safe, it lists about 8 parts per million (if I’m reading it right) as the normal background level for these particles. The range for the observed levels was right at that background level up to 20x that background level.

Facinating read though the jargon & symbols throw me off a bit: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1205806/

Basically, your right to smoke should end at my nose. I think you should have the right to put anything in your body that just affects you – smoking and booze are the two main vices we allow now, but I would certainly be willing to accept more based on individual liberty. But once your decision can affect me (second hand smoke, drunk driving), the government has a right to constrain it.

Based on this and a few other articles I’ve read, it looks like the main factor for second hand smoke is distance – distance to another person and / or enclosed spaces. Rather than trying to ensure that all smokers are 10-15 meters away from any building (or any non smoking person), it’s just easier, cheaper, and more consistent for UGA to just ban it on all campus areas. Period. If you want to smoke, by all means, do it on your own property.

Jon Lester December 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Until the UGA bus fleet becomes 100% electric (and good luck with that), diesel exhaust will remain very obviously present at every stop. I don’t see any special efforts being made to protect people from that.

bgsmallz December 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

“It’s a legal product and smokers are mostly only harming themselves.”

Two things…first, the issue of second hand smoke, which was addressed above.
Second, the issue of health costs that I (a non-smoker) pay for a smoker. Last I saw, it costs me the equivalent of $35 every time a smoker buys and smokes a pack.

I think banning smoking at colleges is kind of stupid. What they should do is charge a fee for designated smoking areas…something akin to paying to use a public restroom in Europe…put up a simple turnstile, insert .50, enjoy a smoke in the chained off area. Or even better…repurpose those old phone booths. You are more than welcome to smoke in the lightly ventilated box..that will be .50.

bgsmallz December 3, 2013 at 10:15 am

BTW- Let’s at least all agree that this is really a stupid statement—>

“Most of these kids start smoking at school because they think it looks cool and they’re away from home and their parents,” Hopkins said”

Actually, Mr. Hopkins, research shows that 70% of adult smokers started before they were 18.
And I highly doubt that anyone started smoking because they saw a college professor, the librarian, or the college janitor smoking and thought ‘it was cool.’ Last time I checked, tobacco companies weren’t using pictures of middle aged people, smoking in a designated area, as marketing ploys for youth.

Toxic Avenger December 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

CJBear and bgsmallz said what I would:

I disagree with your assessment of secondhand smoke, Buzz. With respect, neither you nor I are scientists or doctors, and those that are (and are far smarter than I), including the WHO, disagree with your assessment. I shan’t substitute my judgment for theirs, either.

As for bgsmallz, I agree with part I, not as much with part II :D

cheapseats December 2, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Set aside the health concerns for a moment and think on this: Smoking stinks up your hair and your clothes. Even if I’m not smoking, I’ll come home reeking of cigarettes/cigars and have to wash my hair and hang my clothes outside before my significant other will let me in bed.
Is it harming my health? Hell! I don’t even know if I care. It’s just damned inconvenient to get that smell off me.

Noway December 2, 2013 at 11:14 pm

First of all don’t ban it. It’s a freedom thing.
Second, secondhand smoke is the new radon and we all know what a load of crap that turned out to be. It used to be hysterical for some dope to be taken in by the radon hucksters selling what amounted to fans to put in your window. Fools and their money…

Will Kremer (@WillKremer) December 3, 2013 at 12:17 am

Where do I sign in support? — Smoking Ban At Georgia Colleges? http://t.co/QLypbZKP7E

Ed December 3, 2013 at 7:22 am

This is kind of tough… on the one hand smoking does infringe on others’ freedom and it is state property so they are free to set their own standards… Then again, I don’t really care one way or the other.

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