Newman University finally took the plunge and became tobacco free at the beginning of this school year.
Now, I know I’m months late to the party here in throwing out my opinion on this subject, but it’s taken me a bit to gather my thoughts on this issue.
My initial thought in hearing the first stirrings of this new rule last year, was that I didn’t much care.
Not being a cigarette smoker myself, I knew I would not be at all affected by this change, so I didn’t give it much thought.
However, after thinking of it from my boyfriends (who smokes) perspective, I can see that prohibiting a smoker from doing so for 8+ hours a day is truely detrimental.
One of the main issue I have with this new rule is that Newman never specified a designated place on campus for faculty, staff, and students to smoke if need be. This has got to be a huge issue for those individuals that have been smoking for years upon years. Addiction is a real thing and if they are stuck on campus all day with little time in between meetings and classes, at least not enough to leave campus, going without all day has got to take a serious toll on their bodies.
This in tern is going to negatively impact their ability to perform, and thereby negatively impact those around them.
Now, with all of that being said, I don’t think anyone should be smoking cigarettes. Just like I don’t think anyone should be allowed to regularly eat cheeseburgers, all because of the very clear, very real health risks they BOTH imply.
Unfortunately though, that’s just not the way the world works.
The fact of the matter is that people are going to continue to smoke cigarettes and people are going to continue to eat cheeseburgers.
Newman making it harder on them to do so is not going to stop them from doing so. It is only going to slow productivity and lower performance levels.
The idea that allowing smoking on campus is going to negatively affect nonsmoking students is null as well.
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 10 years old and since then, I have been at one of the lowest lung capacities measurable, yet I could walk by a group of people smoking outside on campus and not be affected by it.
While I recognize that I am not every student with asthma, the fact of the matter is that Newman needs to do a better job of serving all of its students and faculty across the board, not just one specific group.
This story first appeared in the March 8, 2018 issue of The Vantage.