A recent entry in The Scroll brought to light several points for consideration in the debate regarding smoking bans on campus. While the author articulated important arguments for the health of students, we would like to respectfully offer a contrasting opinion in favor of keeping the current restrictions and allowing students to smoke on campus. The article ended with three main points and we would like to respond accordingly.
Firstly, the author puts forth the idea that “St. Thomas is an institution for education and enlightenment therefore the only enlightened position about it is ‘DON’T.’” However, education involves multiple viewpoints and the rights of all students and faculty to make their own decisions.
The second point argues “we already make life tough on smokers.” Perhaps we’re missing the point; is the author suggesting we should make life harder? It seems a contradiction for an institution, which prides itself on openness and inclusion. The final point listed in the article proposes that forcing smokers to go longer periods of time without cigarettes will curb their habit. In our opinion, it is a personal decision to smoke and/or quit and St. Thomas has no business infringing on personal rights. It seems a far stretch to assume a ban would be the sole solution to ending such a habit.
The authors of this letter come from non-smoking backgrounds and continue to be non-smoking members of the St. Thomas community. While we appreciate smokers who respect the boundaries currently in place, we feel that expanding these boundaries would be a violation of personal choice. The St. Kate’s community, which has recently enforced a smoking ban on campus, is now facing safety concerns for students who are forced to leave campus after dark to smoke. Perhaps these students would disagree with the original article’s conclusion that “the only loser would be state governments that tax cigarettes” if a ban was in place.
Allyssa Mashak and Georgina Boyle, Seniors