Staff Editorial 9/29: Smoke-free areas spark rebellion

The University of Miami campus’ new smoking zones became effective Sept. 1. A map of these designated smoking areas has circulated, but the only noticeable changes on campus are signs reminding smokers not to light up and blue poles with ashtrays in these spots.
A walk along the paths connecting the campus still involves dodging clouds of smoke, even though there may not even be a smoking area nearby.
Clearly, many students are up in arms against the university’s motion to become smoke-free. UM aims to cut its smoking zones in half by August 2012, and would like to be entirely smoke-free a year after that.
So what is the purpose of banning smoking?
Although it would please the population of students that don’t smoke, it is treating the portion that does unfairly. The university shouldn’t be responsible for forcing students to stop smoking.
That being said, smoking is a choice. Nonsmokers shouldn’t have to deal with secondhand smoke if they don’t want to.
In theory, the designated smoking areas are extremely beneficial. However, the plan has numerous flaws that should be fixed before it can take its desired effects.
The obvious problem is that this policy is not being enforced. People blatantly smoke in nonsmoking areas without facing any consequences. If the university is relying on the honor code, it’s falling flat. Smokers might be more inclined to smoke only in designated areas if the alternative meant a punishment.
Getting to these areas, however, can be inconvenient because they are located in places where students don’t tend to congregate. It’s frustrating to ditch your friends to smoke somewhere else, and this fact may further discourage smokers from abiding by the new initiative.
But a smoking area in the Rat’s outside patio, for example, wouldn’t be too inconvenient for nonsmokers and could give smokers the freedom to drink, eat and smoke.
Courtesy, however, is one thing that everyone should agree on. Smokers, please be considerate of those around you that may not want smoke blown in their faces.

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