If you haven’t already heard, Suffolk Community College has plans to create a tobacco and smoke-free environment for the 27,000 students inhabiting the campus. This truth has generated great annoyance and frustration in some while for others, it is merely a gift they’ve been awaiting for too long. The question of whether or not it is ethical to ban a personal choice has raised controversy among students. However, the tables can be easily turned. Is it ethical for smokers to be inconsiderate to the health of those around them?
In my opinion, it is not. Liberal Arts Major, Eric Blanco’s opinion coincides with my own. Like myself, Blanco, 20, does not deem it ethical for cigarette users to blow smoke in the face of non-cigarette users. “I have asthma, and it’s already difficult enough for me to breathe on some days. I don’t need to sit next to a classmate who smells like they dumped an ash-tray on their head,” Blanco, 20, said. “It’s disgusting,” he said.
Like Blanco, I’ve had the same experience where the professor calls a 15 minute break during a three hour class, and everyone comes back, only to leave the room smelling like a chimney.
Student Jonathan Chu, 20, also says that if it were his choice to make, he would ban all smoking on campus to benefit his health and the health of others. “It’s not fair that I have to suffer second-hand smoke because of somebody else’s poor decision. I don’t ask to inhale the smoke. I don’t have a say,” Chu, 20, said. He also added that tobacco litter makes the campus look unclean and ugly. “I want to learn in a well-kept environment; not in a dump,” he said. A News 12 report indicated that 70 percent of the population agree with Chu when asked about tobacco litter in surveys recorded by Trustees. However, 24% oppose the proposal of smoke-free grounds.
Student Eddie Nunez, 19, is part of this 24 percent. When asked to share his opinion, Nunez, 19, said, “Why ban it? You can’t stop people from smoking. They should just make separate smoking sections further away from the school,” he said. Nunez said that people will continue to do what they want no matter how many limitations are imposed on them, and he does not think this plan of action will follow through.
Unlike Nunez, I believe the plan will follow through because it has already been successful in other colleges in New York State. It’s about time we try to make our college the first on the island to be completely smoke-free. “I’ve been to lots of places in Suffolk County and noticed that we have a lot of strict policies on smoking. Why not take it a step further?,” Blanco, 20 said.
Taking it a step further is what Suffolk Community College has been trying to do since 2013. The school is already following Suffolk’s law banning the use of cigarettes within 50 feet of any county edifice according to a News 12 article. Now, they are hoping to restrict the use of tobacco everywhere but on the inside of the personal cars of students and employees.
The best thing the college can do is take a stand for the health of others. Change can still be made in a crowd where “everyone is doing it,” as the majority likes to say. It is always important to push for a positive change, and a smoke-free campus will imprint nothing but a positive outcome.