Don’t strip smokers’ rights

Earlier this year, the Miller School of Medicine officially became a smoke-free campus. Is it time for the Coral Gables campus to become smoke-free too?

In collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs, Student Government has organized a campus-wide smoking survey to see if students think our campus should go smoke free.

According to the American Cancer Society, smoking in the United States is highest among college students ages 18 to 24. The trend of smoke-free campuses is spreading nationwide.

Yes, banning the use of tobacco products on our campus will slow the University of Miami’s concerns about faculty and student health, as well as keep our campus cigarette-butt free. And yes, banning smoking on campus will teach students that if they are able to quit for a day, they have the ability to quit permanently.

However, we need to analyze the situation realistically. In this day and age, people are fully aware of the dangerous effects caused by smoking and know it’s not the best choice. Despite how harmful it is, smoking is an individual’s personal decision and is perfectly legal. Who are we to dictate that?

Cigarettes are not illegal, and it would be absolutely absurd if the school would ban them all together. Due to the fact that the Miller School is a medical school, their decision to ban cigarettes makes more sense. Also, it is important to note that just this past August, UM already implemented an extra $50 charge for smokers on the university’s health insurance plan.

Another question that is raised is, if we ban smoking, how well would it be enforced? Smoking marijuana is not allowed and is illegal, but that does not stop people from doing it and getting away with it. Implementing a ban on smoking would not make a significant difference because people will find ways around it.

The idea of losing nicotine privileges on campus makes smokers upset and could also potentially cause more harm than good. Perhaps smokers who are in need of smoke break will get frustrated and angrily throw butts in a parking lot. After all, it does seem quite ridiculous for someone to walk to a parking lot and get into their car to simply smoke.

But not only do people have the right to smoke, but people also have the right to breathe fresh air. After all, people do have the right to pass through an area without being exposed to smoke. As of now, the Coral Gables campus has done an excellent job of restricting smoking indoors in student facilities and residential housing. If people have problems with others smoking outside, perhaps our campus should establish specific outdoor smoking locations that would be similar to “smoking areas” in restaurants. With all this in mind, we must remember that banning smoking on campus without designated smoking areas would be unfair to a smoker’s right.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.