Infringing on smokers’ rights

By Mary Menzemer

If there has been a smoking ban implemented on campus, I could have been fooled to an endless degree.

There have been no signs, no announcements, nor any sort of enforcement toward this ban to my knowledge. But when to comes to banning smoking on campus, whether it is or isn’t a beneficial action is another story.

Colleges such as Malone, Cedarville and Notre Dame are considered “smoke-free” campuses, and what they have in common is that they are relatively small and private.

But if a student is paying upwards of $20,000 or $30,000 to attend college, should the college have the right to say whether they can smoke on campus? Since they are private schools and can implement any policy they desire, the answer is yes.

The size of the college also matters, since it would be easier for students attending these colleges to wander off campus for a smoke break.

It would be utterly useless for Ohio to ban smoking on bigger, public campuses such as Kent or Akron.

There are roughly 30,000 students attending Akron, and many are labeled “smokers.” Since Akron is not privately funded, the state should not have the right to say whether or not students can smoke.

As for myself, being a social/stress smoker, I can say that yes, I do enjoy a smoke break in between classes to help clear my head.

I do my best to stay respectful of others and smoke in a spot where few or no people pass by to give off as little secondhand smoke as possible.

However, I cannot say that every other smoker does this, and there is really no way to make smokers stay respectful of others without infringing anyone’s rights.

The moral of this story is respect.

Respect is the name of the game, and that means having the freedom to practice your habits, vices, etc. without being totally obnoxious about it.

If one gives someone who is smoking a mean look or coughs really loud in front of them, I would say that would fall into the “obnoxious” category.

We are all human.

If smokers could just be polite to non-smokers and vice versa, there would be no need for a debate about whether or not we would need to ban anything.

We could all cater to each other’s needs and the microcosm of the world that is The University of Akron would be a much better place.