Smoking: Call for courtesy, not more rules

By Amy Meyer, Editor-in-Chief


Last spring the Associated Students of Washington State University Spokane enacted a rule that forbids smokers from lighting up while at the Riverpoint campus.

Now the Associated Students of EWU has an inkling to do the same on the Cheney campus.

I smoked a pack a day for about seven or eight years but quit smoking about 19 years ago. If there is a campus ban on smoking, it would not hurt me in the least. I am sometimes forced to walk downwind from an uncourteous smoker between classes, but I do not think it’s courteous to demand smokers leave campus before lighting up.

In the discussions that I’m aware of, there seems to be an emotional and intellectual disconnect about what this proposed ban would mean to a select few. At EWU, we do not overlook the needs of even small groups of people. A campus-wide ban has some fairly obvious problems.

The Cheney campus is much larger than the Riverpoint Campus. EWU-Cheney is 300 acres compared to Riverpoint’s 55 acres. Walking off campus at Cheney could take quite a bit longer than walking off Riverpoint’s campus, depending on where one is.

In addition, requiring faculty and staff to leave campus during what may only be a short break is unreasonable. Not many breaks would be long enough to enable this walk off campus.

In addition, there is no point in enacting a rule that no one enforces. There will not be any smoking police roaming about campus, telling people where they cannot light up. Many of the “offenders” might be unaware of a campus ban. Educating about 8,000 Cheney campus students about this is not as easy as sending an email. Signs would have to be posted, which would not add to the beauty of our park-like campus.

So what’s the point? If the idea of sending smokers off campus is for their improved health and wellness, then a mere campus ban is not enough. The university should also provide and promote cessation programs. It’s not enough to simply discourage a thing.

If the idea behind this policy is to provide cleaner air for nonsmokers, then a better idea would be to provide better smoking areas. An education campaign to introduce courtesy into the smoking culture might also be very effective. The courtesy would simply be to smoke away from students passing between classes.

We don’t need more rules. We need more courtesy.