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Additionally, students who smoke will likely spend less time on campus and avail themselves less frequently of campus dining options – leading to a reduction in university revenues and a less vigorous student presence on campus.
In the case of differently abled students and those with reduced mobility, pushing them off campus seems a particularly hard to justify and even cruel approach. If avoidance strategies of people addicted to tobacco are half as strong as tobacco researchers say they are, student enrollment will suffer as a result of the complete outdoor smoking ban.
Particularly students in the arts and international students from countries such as China, which have higher smoking rates, have many choices and may look elsewhere for their education.
We should be teaching our students to deconstruct misleading government and advocacy group statements, such as the claim that “these is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.” By such criteria, there is no safe level of exposure to sunlight either. With the notable exception of some “Bible colleges,” which also ban alcohol, dating and other practices, most universities in this country value tolerance of people’s lifestyles and individual preferences.
We enshrine this policy when our university handbook advises the following: “Don't attempt to impose your values -- whether political, religious or cultural -- on others.” My university president actually agreed with most of the points I made.
If just half of these 4000 students who smoke have access to a car and use it to leave campus just once more a week for lunch or a break (as a result of the ban), this equals two thousand extra car trips a week around the university.
Unlike tobacco outdoors, vehicle exhaust does pose a significant health risk to others, and the extra traffic (some 60,000 extra car trips an academic year as a conservative estimate) will increase the university’s carbon footprint accordingly.
On big campuses like mine (over 20,000 students), many of these make the university residences their home.
At some late-night hour after my university implements its intended ban, a student will want to go out for a smoke.
I find this, along with other aspects of the latest temperance movement, intensely depressing.
I respect the new president at my university and think he does a good job in general (rare praise from a faculty member, I know), so I sent him a letter outlining some of my concerns with a complete outdoor ban on smoking.