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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Current smoking policy needs no alteration

smoking3
While smoking at Stony Brook is banned indoors, students are able to smoke in various outdoor locations. (KATE CHRISA / THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook’s policy on smoking is that it is prohibited in all buildings, but now the university is trying to change it so that the whole school becomes a smoke-free area. The university’s policy reads “Stony Brook University is a ‘Smoke-Free University,’ it prohibits smoking in all buildings, in enclosed areas and certain outdoor locations.  Any resident or guest who wishes to smoke should vacate the building and smoke at least 25 feet from the perimeter of the building.”  I believe this is a very good policy because it gives students freedom, but not too much.  Smoking in a building could be a distraction if it is during a class and could ruin the quality of the building or be a fire hazard.  Still, letting students smoke outside lets them satisfy their need to smoke.  This policy works because it helps the university, it tells students where they can smoke and it is fair to smokers and non-smokers.

Smoking is an addiction and not letting a student satisfy that addiction on campus will make it extremely difficult for him or her.  However, the university has a right to keep its buildings looking and smelling fine so limiting students to smoking only outside is a very fair policy.  For me, a building that has been smoked in often will leave an unpleasant odor.  This smell will make me not want to stay in that building and if I have to be in there during class it is unfair. I expect the university to provide buildings that are the best places for students to learn, study, play and sleep in.  Letting students and faculty smoke inside will not provide the best environment to do all these things.

Having someone smoking next to you can be a huge distraction.  That is why I am glad no one can smoke during class.  If a student were smoking during class it would be distracting to themselves and other people in the room.  One thing most professors do to keep students paying attention is ask them to turn off their cellphones.  I wonder if we were allowed to smoke during class, would professors ask students to put out their cigarettes at the start of each class?  If a student blows smoke inside, it is very hard to for it escape but outside it is much easier for it to escape.  During my fourth week of school, I had a student blow smoke into my face not knowing what she was doing.  This was very annoying but it was okay because I was outside and could easily move to another location.  If I was indoors it would have been much harder to move to another location.

I do not smoke but that does not mean that I must stop other students from smoking.  Students have a right to decide whether they want to smoke or not.  Most students took health classes when they were younger warning them of the dangers of smoking and almost all of them see the ads on television warning them of these dangers.  So for a student to not know that smoking is harmful would be very unlikely.  That is why we must give them their freedom to smoke outdoors on campus.  If the University denies them this, it will make their lives a whole lot harder. This is why giving them the right to smoke outside provides students with a good spot for them to smoke.  Some students and staff even have an addiction to cigarettes and other tobacco products.  So denying them a spot to smoke would be extremely hard on them.  If the school were to make a new policy that did not let smokers smoke anywhere, it would not be fair to them.

The current policy is fair for the people who do not want to be around smokers.  When inside a building with smokers, it can be extremely hard to find a spot where you can be without smoke.  So not letting them smoke inside is very fair to the people who do not want to be around a smoker.  A person who is next to a smoker and is outside can always just move away from that smoker.

The policy the school has now is perfect and should not be changed.  This policy worked for a very long time and I expect it to keep on working for much longer.  What makes this policy perfect is that it gives people freedom but not too much freedom.

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