Recently, there has been much debate over a possible smoking ban on campus. The implementation of such a ban has the potential to raise USC’s prestige as a progressive university committed not only to debate and discussion, but also to action and implementation.
As a private university, USC has greater jurisdiction over such matters than a public school would, and therefore it can potentially be seen as a role model for reforms and improvements throughout California’s higher education system.
The issue being addressed is not necessarily smoking itself. Smoking bans, to a certain degree, are already in place around campus.
Extending these bans would not be introducing any new idea. Logistically speaking, the implementation of a complete ban would not be overly difficult to enforce. Further extending the smoking bans already in place would entail more symbolic value than practical consequence.
By joining more than 530 other colleges who have banned smoking, USC would recognize itself not just as a university with the interest of its students’ health and well-being in mind, but a university that truly acts on that notion.
USC would join schools such as Stanford University’s Medical School and University of California, San Francisco in taking tangible steps to promote healthy lifestyles.
By implementing a complete smoking ban, USC would challenge some of the rights smokers claim. Non-smokers, however, could make similar claims regarding their rights to clean airspace.
Banning or not banning smoking will affect the student body, and people will disagree — no matter the decision. But rather than concentrate on what people want or don’t want, USC should focus on innovation, setting an example and being truly committed to student health.
Banning smoking is clearly a step toward a healthier campus. It would be repetitive to outline the extensive list of negative effects of smoking, for these facts have been familiar to all of us since we were young.
I highly doubt anyone will argue secondhand smoking is good for those who experience it. Smoking is bad for your health, regardless if people should be permitted to do it or not — and that’s the issue at hand.
If the ban were to occur, it would likely be met with opposition as it would make one lifestyle choice inconvenient. But certain times, like right now, students must ask themselves if they support the statements and examples USC is trying to implement and portray. If this ban is not supported, it could shine a negative light on USC.
Visitors come to campus and make judgments based on first impressions. If visitors, prospective students or parents see the university making tangible efforts to create a healthy and safe environment for students, the university will be seen as an example of responsibility and dedication.
While on campus, students and their actions reflect on the university. The support of such a ban or similar restrictions, by smokers and non-smokers alike, would magnify USC’s prestige as a progressive university.
Personal sacrifice for common interest is oftentimes the best solution.
Alan Wong is a sophomore majoring in East Asian languages and cultures. His column “Re-Defining USC” runs Tuesdays.