By Elizabeth Childers, Transcript Online Editor
The issue of whether or not to allow smoking on campus was a hot button issue last year, to say the least. I myself find smoking to be a less than healthy habit, but it is not my place to walk up to every smoker, take their cigarette and shout, “Smoker, no smoking!”
However, I do find it my place to address a few issues with said smokers. The Ohio Wesleyan Student Handbook states, “Smoking is prohibited in all University buildings and areas immediately adjacent to doors and windows. (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3794 – Smoking Ban)” Standing directly in front of a dorm door, regardless of the weather, is in direct violation of this policy. Also, it’s just plain rude. Smoking in a doorway allows the smoke to travel inside, either through the direct openings or ventilation. If you want to smoke, fine. However, some of us don’t want to smoke with you.
The next thing to address with smokers is not a violation of school policy, but a subtle request to those students who smoke on their way to and from classes. If you choose to light up on the JAY, please be considerate to people walking behind you and let them pass, especially if the wind is blowing so that they will inevitably inhale the smoke from your cigarette. For people who do not partake, the smell of cigarette smoke can be nauseating, and in the case of someone who has breathing issues, even harmful.
For nonsmokers on campus, there is a document called, “The Non-Smoker’s Bill of Rights,” which states that: nonsmokers have the right to clean air, and this right supersedes the right to smoke when the two conflict; the right to speak out, meaning nonsmokers have the right to express – firmly but politely – their discomfort and adverse reactions to tobacco smoke and they have the right to voice their objections when smokers light up without asking permission; and the right to act, meaning nonsmokers have the right to take action through legislative channels, social pressures or any other legitimate means – as individuals or in groups – to prevent or discourage smokers from polluting the atmosphere and to seek the restriction of smoking in public places.
Whether OWU should be a smoke-free campus is ultimately up to the student body.
I believe that the option should still be available to those who wish to continue smoking.
However, for the right to smoke on campus, shouldn’t smokers also respect a nonsmoker’s right to breathe clean air?