COLUMN: Education by limitation


Andrews_Kevin_web1

I am not a smoker. I think the idea of filling your lungs with hundreds of potentially dangerous chemicals and carcinogens, risking pulmonary complications and endangering both your health and those around you is disgusting.

That being said, I vehemently oppose Central Michigan University's new tobacco-free policy.

Central Michigan Life reported last October on the passage of this new policy, which will take effect July 1.

The tobacco free initiative will prohibit all forms of tobacco on campus, including traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, hookahs, waterpipes, snus and snuff.

Tobacco will soon only be permitted in privately owned vehicles with closed windows. When I read about the policy, specifically this portion, I laughed out loud.

So you can still smoke, as long as you are only slowly killing yourself in a closed environment with no ventilation?

Let me also clarify the punishment for violating the policy. Smokers will now simply be asked to stop. It is part of what CMU calls a "good neighbor initiative."

That is not at all an effective enforcement tactic. It will not deter smokers. The real punishment will come later when these people develop cancer or emphysema.

In a campus-wide survey conducted last February, 70 percent of the nearly 4,500 students, staff and faculty favor a smoke or tobacco-free campus.

Are you kidding me CMU?

The current smoking policy, which permits smoking no less than 25 feet from any university building entrance or exit, is ineffective – and this one will be too.

It is not CMU's duty as an institution of higher education to tell people whether they can or cannot smoke. The university needs to get back to what it does best and what each student pays thousands of dollars for – education.

Limiting the freedoms of the very students that keep the university running and playing dad is not helping the situation.

People are going to smoke regardless of what policy is implemented, the same way people under 21 are always going to drink.

Being healthy is popular. It makes us look good. I get that. But why limit the freedoms of our students?

If someone wants to inhale an extremely harmful product for pleasure, slowly destroying their organs and causing permanent health damage, then by all means let them.

You don't need to be their parent and tell them what they can and cannot do. It's not the university's role to limit personal liberties and it never will be.


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