Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Paula Wesson, Managing Editor
I have family members who smoke. I have friends on campus who smoke. Nonetheless, I think this campus should limit the places where smoking is allowed.
To be clear, I do not have a problem with smokers; I have a problem with the policies—or lack thereof—regarding smoking on campus.
Cedar Crest College’s webpage boasts that “the Cedar Crest education is designed to encourage and guide students to [become leaders], identify and implement healthy, productive habits and practices, refine and apply this skill set, not only to their career, but also to their life as a whole.”
Is smoking a “healthy, productive habit”?
I know productive people who smoke. Maybe because it helps some people think by clearing their minds and calming them down.
However, those productive smokers are not healthy. In my family smoking has caused heart disease, lung cancer, and gum disease. Smoking also causes asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, strokes, aneurysms, decreased bone density, arthritis, cataracts, ulcers, irregular periods, and early menopause. Smoking during pregnancy also causes a number of health issues for the fetus.
Unfortunately, the effects of cigarette smoke don’t simply affect the smoker. They affect everyone exposed to the smoke.
So, when people smoke by the doors, they’re subjecting non-smokers to numerous health problems.
The Current Policy: No Smoking Within 15 feet of the Door
But the school does not enforce this rule well enough.
For one thing, there are no signs outside academic buildings. And, the “no smoking” signs outside the dorms are placed directly above ash trays. Despite this contradiction, many students are good about not smoking in front of the dorm.
There are also smokers, unfortunately, who seem to have no concern for others and blow puffs of smoke towards the doors. One solution to this would be to simply ban smoking.
There are several colleges that have campus-wide no-smoking policies. Delaware County Community College recently implemented a tobacco free policy. This probably works well for them because everyone is a commuter and can smoke in their car or off-campus.
Although Cedar Crest has a large commuter population, there are a number of resident students who smoke. So, I doubt that banning smoking entirely would be the best solution.
What about restricting it?
Student Government Association met on September 24, 2008, to discuss whether or not the college should restrict smoking. Of course, the smokers were against the idea of completely banning cigarettes, but “smokers seem to be okay with increasing the 15ft or having specified areas.”
Five years later the requirement is still the same—smokers must be 15 feet from the entrance to a building. The problem is still the same—smokers don’t stay 15 feet away and when they do, smoke can still blow into faces of passersby.
But three simple changes might help.
First off, the school should move ashtrays to 15 feet from the doors of all buildings. I think the school tries to do this, but many are plastic ashtrays which are easily moved.
Second, the school needs to post more “no smoking” signs by the exits.
Third, the current policies should be enforced. Granted, Campus Police won’t be able to catch everyone who smokes in front of the doors.
That’s why I think it’s time for SGA to reassess the situation.