It always seems as though I get stuck behind someone who is smoking a cigarette wherever I walk every day. Smoking should not be something that is allowed in public because of the adverse health effects it has on non-smokers.
Pennsylvania has one of the highest youth smoking rates with Pennsylvanian youths making up about 18.4 percent. Smoking is a behavioral dependence caused by a nicotine addiction.
Nicotine is a powerful psychoactive drug, which is the most physically addictive of all psychoactive drugs. Nicotine essentially “tricks” the brain into creating pleasant associations with sensory stimuli or environmental cues that trigger the urge for a cigarette.
Smoking sends over 7,000 chemicals to the brain, which get there in seconds via the bloodstream, including 70 known carcinogens. There are 480,000 deaths attributed to smoking each year, 10 percent of which are related to secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke is often more harmful because there is no filter. Not only do non-smokers receive the smoke that a smoker exhales or blows out, but we also get the smoke coming out of the non-filtered end of the cigarette.
E-cigarettes are also not as safe as they seem, the FDA has found varying levels of toxic chemicals and carcinogens in leading brands.
LHU’s “Smoking and Tobacco Policy Statement” does little to go in depth on smoking and just highlights where students are not allowed to smoke. To save you from reading the page-long document, don’t smoke in smoke-free buildings, which is all of them.
However, the U.S. is seeing a trend that more and more deaths are being attributed to secondhand smoke every year. Secondhand smoke exposure contains two times more tar, five times the carbon monoxide and fifty times more ammonia than that which a smoker inhales.
I firmly believe that LHU should implement a smoking policy that restricts smoking to designated areas, these areas would be low foot-traffic areas where students would not be exposed to it nearly as much. This would be a step in the right direction in which I believe LHU should completely ban smoking. This would benefit both smokers and nonsmokers as well as the community as a whole.
With these designated smoking areas, LHU would experience cleaner air in certain areas, and other areas, those designated as smoking areas, would not.
However, implementation would allow areas that are heavily trafficked such as those between Bentley and Akeley as well as the area from the Rec Center to East Campus to be much cleaner and furthermore better to walk through. These designated areas could be done in the same way that amusement parks, and other universities have done it, oftentimes creating gazebos with built-in receptacles.
The question of the placement of these is another question, one in which can be answered depending on the foot traffic of the areas. However, these would again be steps in the right direction to ban smoking to promote the health of the community.
A complete ban would allow for a much healthier environment and aid in preventing diseases such as cancer and coronary diseases.