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The idea of smoking in colleges and campuses has developed a mixed reaction in the USA and in many other parts of the world such that it has posed a very hot and contentious universal debate.
Several campuses and colleges have tried to impose a total ban on smoking within their environs, some of them succeeding while others failing to do so. For instance, colleges like Santa Ana and Fullerton have managed to ban smoking completely within their environs, while others such as Huntington Beach and Golden West College still allow smoking in prescribed places such as in parking lots.
Fullerton College was the first to successfully impose a smoking ban in the year 2007 (Bates 57). Nevertheless, many colleges and campuses have not managed to follow suit because of some state laws which assert that smoking is only proscribed inside buildings and within 20 feet from entry points of buildings in all campuses. These laws continue to give students the right to smoke within certain areas of their campuses.
Arguments in favor of Smoking in Campus
As aforementioned, section 7595 of the government code affirms that smoking is proscribed only in public buildings and within 20 feet from entry points of buildings in all campuses (Merrill 36).Therefore, the opponents of this subject believe that since it is the right of every citizen to do anything that is recognized as legal, it is very wrong to impose a total ban on smoking, especially in campuses.
The most important thing is to ensure that students follow the laid down rules and regulations such as the strict use of the recommended areas of smoking. In deed, it is very unfair to send students off campus to smoke.
In addition, the opponents of this argument believe that smoking should not be banned because it helps students to relax whenever they are in stressful situations. Concerning the health risks that are brought about by smoking, they assert that every mature citizen should be in a position to separate good behavior from wrong behavior.
They say that since there has been an integration of cigarette smoking topics in schools for several decades, by the time a student reaches campus, he/she must be in a position to understand the risks that cigarette smoking poses to their health and therefore they should be able to make informed decisions about smoking. They also argue that it is very unfair to impose an immediate ban on cigarette smoking in campus yet it is clearly understood that smoking is an additive activity which can not be stopped at once.
Arguments against smoking in Campus
Even though campus students have the right to smoke within some prescribed areas whenever they wish to do so, as mandated by some state laws, they ought to realize the fact that cigarette smoking has got very serious and detrimental effects on human health. Smoking of cigarettes can bring about lung infections to both first-hand and second-hand smokers. Therefore, smokers need to recognize that their right to smoke may greatly infringe on the rights of their non-smoking counterparts.
It is obvious that students know the negative effects of smoking cigarettes. For instance, it is expensive for them and it may also reduce their lifetime. Generally speaking, cigarette smoking is just bad. Currently, at least forty three colleges in the USA have imposed a total ban on cigarette smoking in their campuses and this trend is increasing especially among commuter schools and community colleges (Merrill 40).
However, it is hard to impose such a ban in some colleges because of the mixed reactions that are held by different stakeholders about the issue of smoking, and the existing campus policies which give the smokers the right to smoke in prescribed areas. According to the research that was carried out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, 31% of college students smoke cigarettes. This figure exceeds the national general average of 25% (Longmire 15).
It is also worth to note that even though there has been an integration of cigarette smoking topics in schools for several decades, cigarette smoking has continued to attract many youths and this continues to raise a lot of alarm about their future. This is because cigarette smoking is the major contributor of the cases of lung cancer in the entire world.
Research indicates that close to eighty percent of men who die from lung cancer, and seventy five percent of women who die from the same disease do so because of smoking tobacco. Research also indicates that the risk of lung cancer increases when a person starts smoking at an early age, and with an increase in the number of cigarettes that a person smokes in a day (Robicsek 56).
Scientific research has proved that cigarette smoking is harmful to the body. The smoke that comes out of a burning cigarette is a compound mixture of several chemicals which are produced when tobacco is burned.
This smoke contains a deadly compound called tar, which consists of more than four thousand chemicals which are very poisonous, and a majority of them have been clearly identified to be the main cause of cancer. Most of these chemicals are also known to cause lung diseases and heart problems. Some of these chemicals include cyanide, benzene, methanol, ammonia, formaldehyde and acetylene (Merrill 45).
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Other deadly substances that are found in cigarettes include carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide gases which are very poisonous. The most active component of a cigarette is nicotine. Nicotine is a very addictive compound. Cigarette smoking can cause several problems such as cancer, lung damage and heart infections among many other diseases.
Research also indicates that more than thirty percent of the deaths that result in the United States occur due to the use of tobacco. Cigarette smoking also causes eighty seven percent of the deaths that result due to lung cancer. Other types of tobacco-related cancers include mouth cancer, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the throat and esophagus and cancer of the bladder. There is also a very close connection between cigarette smoking and the occurrence of the cancers of the kidney, pancreas, stomach and the cervix.
Cigarette smoking can also cause lung damage which begins at the early stages of smoking. Cigarette smokers encounter many problems with their lungs as compared to non-smokers and this situation gets worse when an individual increases his/her capacity to smoke. Smoking is linked to many dangerous lung infections which are just as perilous as lung cancer. These infections include emphysema and chronic bronchitis which cause difficulties in breathing and may even cause death.
Cigarette smoking also augments the risk of heart infections which stand out as the major causes of deaths in the U.S. Out of all the risk factors of heart infections, i.e. excess cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, cigarette smoking, physical lethargy and high blood pressure, cigarette smoking remains the leading risk factor for impulsive deaths that result from heart attacks (Bates 78).
In addition, low levels of cigarette smoking which may not be able to cause lung infections are capable of damaging the heart. Therefore, second-hand smokers also stand a very high chance of getting heart infections.
Reconciliation of the two positions
As stated earlier, Section 7595 of the government code affirms that smoking is proscribed in all public buildings and within 20 feet from entry points of buildings in all campuses (Merrill 36). Even though this ruling is good, it is not sufficient because it seems to discriminate the innocent second-hand smokers who continue to suffer from cigarette smoke which pollutes the air around them.
Cigarette smoking has also very detrimental effects to the real smokers and therefore they should be able to accept this ban because it is meant for their own good. Though it is very hard to ban citizens from doing something which is legally right, smoking should be gradually banned in campuses so as to protect the non-smokers. This is because campuses are public places which consist of both smokers and non-smokers.
My stand on this issue differs significantly from my opponents who believe that smoking should be allowed in some prescribed areas in campuses. My stand is that cigarette smoking should be banned in campuses because it impacts negatively on the non-smokers. Banning of cigarette smoking in campuses would enable the non-smoking citizens to enjoy the delight of breathing unpolluted air.
Nevertheless, my stand does not include cigarette smoking in private places such as in homes. At the same time, cigarette smokers should understand that the non-smokers are not trying to be intolerant when they keep on complaining about them. Rather, they are doing it for the sake of their own health.
In conclusion, smoking should be totally banned in campuses and colleges because of its severe health risks to both smokers and non-smokers. The health risks are much more to non-smokers because they may double up especially to those who already suffer from other ailments such as heart and lung problems.
In addition, a very short exposure by a non-smoker to secondhand smoke may have abrupt severe effects on his/her cardiovascular system thus escalating the risk for lung and heart infections. This makes the non-smoker to have a higher risk of catching infections from cigarette smoke than the real smoker yet he/she is very innocent. A more effective way of reducing smoking in campuses would be to provide tobacco termination counseling programs in the campuses.
Bates, Tim & Gordon Mangan. Smoking and Raven IQ. New York: Pocket Books, 2007.
Longmire, Wilkinson, & Torok Edgar. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Melo, Maurice. Cigarette Smoking and Reproductive Function. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Merrill, David. How Cigarettes are made. London: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Robicsek, Francis. Ritual Smoking in Central America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.