Saint Cloud State University prides itself on being a “tobacco free” campus. However, what could be the selling point for some prospective SCSU students could also be a major inconvenience and flaw on campus to current and prospective students, faculty members and visitors.
It is completely understandable for non-smokers to oppose the constant exposure of secondhand smoke. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that “at least 69 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to cause cancer.” NCI said that involuntary smoke “has also been associated with heart disease in adults.”
In the image below, a set of data put together by a user on Visual.ly indicates that 19.1 percent of adults in Minnesota are habitual smokers. The number shown above that statistic is the amount of cigarettes the average smoker will smoke on a daily basis; the number for Minnesota is the averaged amount of 17.8 cigarettes per day.
With these statistics, it’s important to consider that the 19.1 percent of adults in the immediate area are most certainly aware of the complications smoking cigarettes can have on themselves and people around them.
Anti-smoking campaigns such as “Above the Influence” and “Truth” have been diligent and merciless in both educational systems and in entertainment media. Their ads on Spotify and commercials during primetime television hours have an immediate impact on those who care enough to listen.
Still, smokers continue their habit, knowing the risks that are constantly thrown in their faces everywhere they go. It is not uncommon to receive public ridicule and unfriendly, disapproving glances even in approved–usually completely out of the general travel lanes–smoking spots around campus.
Is it too much to ask for some tolerance for smokers on a campus that preaches diversity and acceptance?
If a smoker in Minnesota will continue to smoke outside in 20 below weather, they’re going to find a way to break the rules by smoking their cigarette and getting their nicotine fix in hiding places that aren’t too far away from their residence hall or their next class.
If there were more smoker-friendly accommodations on campus such as more “smoke-spots” like the one just outside of Atwood Memorial Center or in front of Riverview, I guarantee that Public Safety would see less infractions involving smoking on campus.
Forcing a resident of Shoemaker or a faculty member to walk 10 to 15 minutes from a residence hall, class or office to smoke a simple cigarette is not only going to promote animosity towards Public Safety’s rules, but also encourage more disregard for them.
If the desired effect of having a tobacco free campus was to have people begin to quit smoking cigarettes altogether, I sure hope that the idiocy of that notion does not survive natural selection.
People will continue to practice the habits that make them happy by any means necessary, whether or not it breaks the rules.