Legally, smoking is an acceptable habit by the law provided an individual has attained the legal minimum age required. Smoking is a habit allowed by the law, and it is within the rights of smokers to partake in their habit. However, research shows that smoking is not only dangerous for the smoker, but also for the individuals in the vicinity of the smoker from second-hand smoke (Oberg et al., 140). Smoking is a dangerous habit for the smoker and nonsmoker. While some may argue that other activities allowed on campus are equally dangerous and damage the quality of the air, smoking remains at the top of the list of harmful activities that affect those who do not take part in it. Smoking on campus should be banned because it has adverse health effects to non-smokers and infringes on their right to enjoy safe air quality with minimal carcinogens.
According to the CDC, annually at least 480,000 individuals in the United States lose their lives due to smoking (CDC 889). Smoking has been shown to harm nearly every organ of the body resulting in poor overall health for an individual who smokes. While smoking remains legal, measures need to be taken to curb the activity from infringing on the safety and health of others. While banning smoking completely in the country due to its health risk may not be possible, it is possible to safeguard others against the risks associated with smoking by reducing the areas on which smoking is allowed. Research has shown that non-smokers on campuses are less likely to begin smoking when they are exposed to a smoking free environment. Campuses should curb smoking within their grounds to safeguard the health of those who do not smoke.
While some may argue that other activities such as driving vehicles that use diesel and petrol are equally dangerous, efforts have been made by national governments to reduce the level of pollution from combustion of petroleum products. On the other hand, tobacco remains as potent as it has always been and with additives for flavoring added, the potency only increases. Creation of smoking zones on campus would not curb the problem adequately either because it may lead to enforcement issues when individuals stray from the designated zone. A total ban on smoking on campus would be more useful. Supporters of smoking may argue that a ban on smoking contravenes their rights to a legal activity and encourages discriminatory behavior for those addicted to smoking. However, the counterargument is that tobacco use and exposing non-smokers to secondhand smoke is also a contravention of their rights.
Inhalation of second-hand smoke has been shown to be equally as potent as smoking. Research has shown that inhalation of second-hand smoke contains chemical toxins that are capable of harming the non-smoking individual's body similar to the smoker (Lee, Ranney & Goldstein 140). Hundreds of thousands die annually due to poor health from smoking. Non-smokers are equally at risk from exposure to smoke exhaled by smokers and from the burning of cigarettes. While others may argue that smoking is legal, and banning it on campus is discriminatory, it has been shown that smoking is dangerous to the health of non-smokers which puts them at risk they do not choose to take. Campuses should, therefore, ban smoking to protect nonsmokers from the risks associated with smoking.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. "Current cigarette smoking among adults- United States, 2011." MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 61.44 (2012): 889.
Lee, Joseph GL, Leah M. Ranney, and Adam O. Goldstein. "Cigarette butts near building entrances: what is the impact of smoke-free college campus policies?." Tobacco control 22.2 (2013): 107-112.
Oberg, Mattias, et al. "Worldwide burden of disease from exposure to second-hand smoke: a retrospective analysis of data from 192 countries." The Lancet 377.9760 (2011): 139-146.
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