Smoking Ban on College Campuses

Colleges and universities across the country should institute a non-smoking or smoke-free campus. The act of smoking tobacco products and its effects on health are clear — smoking is harmful. Not only is it harmful to the actual smoker, but second hand smoke is harmful to anyone in the near vicinity of the person smoking. Currently on many college campuses students will huddle together by doorways or other common areas such as outdoor benches to feed their habits. They inadvertently create an unsafe environment for many innocent by-standers. Besides the health risks associated with second hand smoke, college and university campuses should also send a clear message to smokers about the importance of health; not only their health, but also the health of others. Universities and colleges are supposed to be a beacon of learning and higher education in society. This position would be strengthened by creating a safe environment for all students and faculty as well as instituting policies that are progressive and responsible.

The Dangers of Second Hand Smoke

Researchers are continually finding that secondhand smoke is even more dangerous than previously imagined. Secondhand smoke (SHS) is also refered to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in the literature and is composed of two primary sources of smoke (American Cancer Society, N.d.):

Sidestream smoke — smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar

Mainstream smoke — the smoke exhaled by a smoker

Although both forms of smoke are harmful, secondhand smoke produced from sidestream smoke has higher concentrations of cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) and is more toxic than mainstream smoke.

Furthermore the particles are smaller and it is easier for them to find their way into the lungs and the cells of the body more easily than with mainstream smoke. Tobacco smoke is a mixture of gases and particles that contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds; more than 250 of these chemicals are known to be harmful, and at least 69 are known to cause cancer (American Cancer Society, N.d.). Not only do these chemicals flood the air around smokers, but there is also some evidence that these chemicals stick around even longer than previously thought.

Thirdhand smoke is generally considered to be residual nicotine and other chemicals left on a variety of surfaces by tobacco smoke and contains many potential health hazards and cancer causing substances (Dale, 2014). Studies show that thirdhand smoke clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces, even long after smoking has stopped (Dale, 2014). Thus by allowing smoking to continue on campuses of colleges and universities throughout the country, these institutions are risking the health of the student body and the faculty by allowing smoking and exposing non-smokers to second and thirdhand smoke.

Bans and Cessation

Smoking bans in public spaces not only protect non-smokers from harmful carcinogens, but they also benefit those who do actually smoke. One research study found that creating a smoke-free workplace reduced daily cigarette consumption significantly…

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