Our View: Don’t stomp it out, just enforce it

DKS Editors

In 2006 the state of Ohio passed a law prohibiting smoking in all public places. In order to adhere to the law, Kent State University banned smoking within 20 feet of all campus buildings.

Reported violations of the law were to be investigated and those found violating the smoking ban were to be fined $2,500.

On paper, the law sounded great, but in all reality the law is not being enforced and is essentially useless. Just walk near any building on campus throughout the week, plenty of people are standing within the 20-foot barrier and smoking away.

The University of Toledo, which has a similar policy to Kent State’s, is currently debating whether to keep its current policy, smokers must be 30-feet outside a building while smoking. Their other two options include the creation of four specific smoking spots on campus or banning tobacco on campus entirely. And just yesterday, the University of Kentucky began enforcing a campus-wide ban of all tobacco products. Other universities like Purdue are in the process of limiting smoking to designated areas on campus.

The total tobacco ban is pretty harsh. If there is no place for smokers to go, they may wind up inhaling their own second-hand smoke along with their first-hand smoke in the privacy of their vehicles. Choosing just a few spots on campus to smoke will also just anger those if the spot isn’t close enough for a quick smoke break between class or work. Both of these options are basically asking people to quit smoking all together – which is a bit of a freedoms breach.

What we do suggest is actually enforcing the current law. It’s in place, there is literally nothing else we have to do but make sure security guards and others are paying attention to smokers outside of buildings.

We don’t condemn or condone smoking, but we do understand that some people just don’t want to be exposed to second hand smoke while others want their right to smoke a cigarette. It should be up to the university to follow the law and respect the wishes of students and employers on both sides of the argument.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.