ANGLES: Campus tobacco-free policy: overstepping boundaries or a step towards health?

Tobacco policy promotes environmental and personal health


I think Augie made the right choice when they decided to implement the tobacco-free policy last August. 

The statement on the Augie website says that this decision was made “in order to minimize the harmful effects and discomfort that smoking produces and because the University believes it has an obligation to promote a healthy, smoke-free environment for its students, employees and visitors.”

According to the American Lung Association, there are 477 college campuses in the U.S. that are tobacco-free. The decision to go tobacco-free is beneficial to not only students, faculty and staff and campus visitors, but also to the environment. 

Cigarettes take a little less than two years to decompose, but when they are disposed of, half end up in landfills and the other half most likely ends up in lakes, rivers, oceans and forests, polluting our groundwater supply and our soil. 

Six hundred million trees are also chopped down each year by the tobacco industry for making cigarettes. This means that for every fifteen packs of cigarettes, one tree is killed. 

Tobacco manufacturers also use four miles of paper per hour to wrap cigarettes, which contributes to deforestation. 

Tobacco is also very susceptible to diseases, which means that tobacco fields are subjected to pesticide use. 

Pesticides also contaminate water and soil, and the workers that spray these pesticides could get sick from them. In fact, there are up to five million tobacco field workers poisoned by pesticides every year. 

Augie also states that they are committed to helping anyone with a tobacco addiction quit their use. Information about cessation is available at the Campus Clinic. 

Smoking is not permitted on campus. But anyone who wants to smoke could easily walk across the street, away from campus property, and light up. 

The tobacco-free policy FAQ also says that smoking is permitted in private vehicles parked on campus, provided individuals dispose of their cigarette butts properly. 

Additionally, this policy complies with what the majority of the campus wants. ASA conducted a survey in 2016 regarding individuals’ opinions of tobacco on campus. Ninety three percent of student survey respondents said they don’t use cigarettes on campus, 94 percent said they don’t use smokeless tobacco, and 95 percent said they don’t use e-cigarettes. 

For staff and faculty respondents, these numbers are 95 percent, 99 percent, and 99 percent, respectively. 73 percent of student respondents and 88 percent of faculty and staff said they would favor or highly favor a tobacco prohibition policy. 

Overall, the new tobacco-free campus policy will be better for everyone. It will help conserve our environment by eliminating soil, water and air pollution and it will go along with what the masses highly favor. Augie also offers tobacco-quitting help at the Campus Clinic. 

The tobacco-free policy will help make the campus more health-friendly and appealing for everyone, including students with various health problems.

And if you must smoke, you are still able to do so a few footsteps from campus or on campus in your own car. I highly support Augustana’s decision to join the group of 477 college campuses that prohibit tobacco use on their premises. 

Shauna Pauli is a sophomore English and journalism major from Milbank, S.D.


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