IU chokes up with expanded smoking ban

We say: The University takes ban too far.


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Annoyances and libertarian considerations aside, we support efforts to reduce cigarette and cigar use on campus. Secondhand smoke endangers passersby to an increased chance of lung cancer.

That being said, the Editorial Board still believes the University’s new policy banning e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff might be taking it
too far.

Our impression is the original smoking ban was implemented primarily as a health and safety measure. But it appears IU had a different plan from the beginning.
The sudden addition of various types of “safer” tobacco leads us to believe the University is attempting to pander to the latest smoke-free craze and push against cigarettes.  

By further penalizing and shaming smokers, the University might also inadvertently promote cigarette usage again.

There would be no incentive for current smokers to change their habits and transition to a less-harmful alternative for their own health or the people around them.

This is not to discount the undisputed harmful effects of tobacco. Instead, we want to consider the effects of penalizing the use of alternatives by current smokers.

Another rather bizarre consequence of the expanded smoking ban is the added and laughably adolescent punishment that will accompany the citation and fine — a referral to the Office of the Dean of Students.

We believe this new approach is rather silly for college students and for Dean Goldsmith, considering both parties likely have more pressing considerations. Though student affairs are obviously within his purview, having a meeting every time someone gets busted seven feet from Ballantine Hall with a cig would be a glaring waste of resources and time.

The Editorial Board’s final concern with the smoking ban expansion is the lose-lose nature of the policy in general.

If the University doesn’t actually enforce it, IU’s rules might no longer be heralded with the appropriate gravity and respect. But if IU does, it will constitute flagrant and rather childish misuse of campus resources — all to keep that kid in front of Swain from using his e-cig.

These new prohibitions will likely have no effect on actual smoking rates.  

To be clear, the Editorial Board very much supports curtailing invasive secondhand smoke on campus. None of us like to cough up our lungs up on our way to class.
However, we can’t support a bad policy expansion that’s more concerned with appearances than actually helping students stop smoking.


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