It’s official: Dixie State University will be a tobacco-free campus starting Jan. 1, 2014.
We stand by the decision to encourage smokers to quit. We support a policy that would only allow tobacco use in designated areas. We were even willing to support the policy the board of trustees were given that would have allowed smokers to use their cars for a quick nicotine fix — as long as the windows were sealed shut.
It’s no secret that smoking can lead to serious health issues. However, it’s also no secret that we’re all adults capable of making our own decisions. We don’t think it’s up to the trustees to tell every student how to live his or her life.
The original policy that was drafted with the help of DSU President Stephen Nadauld would have limited smoking and tobacco use to the privacy of vehicles, thus eliminating second-hand smoke issues. The trustees amended the language so smokers can’t light up in their own cars.
If the trustees think they’re stopping people from smoking, then the trustees are wrong. What they are doing is making criminals out of people who are not criminals.
They’re forcing the very few students and faculty who do smoke to leave campus to do so. They’re creating an even larger disconnect between the tobacco users and the rest of the campus.
What’s worse is this was all done under the umbrella of a healthier campus. If that is indeed the case, then why are we still selling candy bars and carbonated soda? Why do we park The Beast around campus and serve up fatty hamburgers and greasy fries? Why are the trustees willing to let people make poor decisions about what to put into their stomaches but not into their lungs?
Shouldn’t we give people a place to smoke where they won’t bother others instead of chase them off campus? It seems like the kinder thing to do.
Banning tobacco on the entire campus without designating at least one area where people can smoke was a poor decision. We can only hope it won’t set a precedent that will eventually lead to stricter regulations — in the name of health — on everything else we do.
If the trustees want to retain all the students they can, then they should rethink this policy and at least allow our students and faculty a place where they can smoke.