I don’t smoke. I’m just going to put that out there right now. So what did I say when I found out that the UC system plans to ban all tobacco on school campuses?
“Ehh. That’s good but it’s going to piss a lot of people off.” This being an opinion article, I should have a solid opinion as to seem headstrong and professional but the fact of the matter is, I do feel for my fellow Anteaters who enjoy the occasional, or frequent, cigarette. College is one of the most stressful times in someone’s life and sometimes, after all the long hours, caffeine and highlighter fumes, a cigarette just takes the edge off.
This ban, affecting the 8 percent of UC smokers over the 9 campuses, will be spread out over the next two years and is no way being treated with “immediate action.” So, relax and have a cigarette outside of the Student Center while you still can.
As we all know, cigarettes are bad but I’m not going to fill this article with numbers and statistics about the dangers of cigarette smoking because everyone has heard them. Of course they’re bad, you’re lighting up a little stick of paper that contains about 4,000 different elements, such as tobacco (and some tar … for that nice kick), and sucking it into your lungs. But, that is your choice if you want to smoke. It is not my right, nor anyone else’s, to dictate the actions of others.
Now, when one person’s actions can physically affect another is where things get hairy. Another fact everyone knows about smoking is that it is not only harmful to the smoker but also to those around him, including animals and the environment. People who do not make the choice to smoke are subjected to the secondhand smoke from those who do. Although, like a cigarette, minimal exposure to the substance will cause no lasting harm but unfortunately, those with asthma may find themselves in the middle of an attack. This can also be caused from intense car exhaust but no one is going to ban cars anytime soon, are they?
Because cigarettes have these effects on those who do not choose to smoke, what makes it so wrong for those who are unwillingly being affected to want them banned at their school?
Other people are not the only ones affected by cigarettes. Cigarettes affect our environment; and not just trees and bushes, but also your cute dog that currently takes up all the picture memory on your phone. Cigarettes also litter the ground of many sidewalks and countless areas on campus because people think that when they finish their cigarette, it vanishes into thin air. But who cares about the environment? Litter will in no way harm it or the 7 billion people currently inhabiting it, so let’s change the subject.
Some studies that you haven’t heard about since your fifth-grade D.A.R.E program have been studies done by psychologists D.M. Warburton, K. Wesnes and A. Revell that show that students who smoked actually performed better on exams in their first year at university than those who did not smoke. However, the same study indicated that by their last year at university, student smokers actually performed worse than their nonsmoking counterparts on their exams. Steven Lamm, M.D., house doctor to “The View” and practicing internist and faculty member at the NYU Medical Center, discussed that although cigarettes and nicotine are toxic to the body, writers often use nicotine because of its stimulant effect. So, can’t we just have designated sections of the school for our writers to get their nicotine fix?
Cigarettes are bad and this is obvious. No one makes the decision to smoke assuming it will enhance their lungs or help their heart but it is an individual’s decision to make nonetheless. Personally, I am not a fan of smoking and am pleased that UCI will be tobacco-free … when I’m gone.
Cleo Tobbi is a third-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.