Possible smoking ban is progressive

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.

Esther Cheong | Daily Trojan

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. 

9 replies
  1. Beverly
    Beverly says:

    Truth and lies about second smoke not withstanding….

    When it comes right down to it smokers inhale hot gas with melted tar and thousands of chemicals.
    Other people may find the smoke irritating and uncomfortable, so if it is to be regulated then what standard should prevail? Certainly not the standard of choice as smokers have proven that they cannot be trusted (as a group) to protect the comfort of others by refraining from smoking in public places. I see smokers puffing away every day in an outdoor space with “no smoking” signs posted everywhere.

    So then it has to be the standard of clean air which is a standard that benefits all of us even smokers. In other words this is the standard that brings about the most good for the most people.
    What I do not understand is why (some) smokers think that this standard is one that should not be enforced?

  2. Marie Sykes
    Marie Sykes says:

    There has to be a balance between bans and freedom of choice surely. Having been a smoker for years, I didn’t like non-smokers professing to me all the time about smoking. Although I don’t smoke anymore (as I use electronic cigarettes instead) which you can use anywhere, surely the people who have an addiction have some rights. The government doesn’t mind taking the taxes off these people anyway. If you want to find out more about electronic cigarettes, go to: http://www.e-smokereviews.com for advice, tips and honest reviews.

  3. Michael J. McFadden
    Michael J. McFadden says:

    I would disagree that a smoking ban is “progressive.”

    I’m not part of the USC community, however, since your ban is almost certainly spurred and encouraged by forces and money far beyond the USC community, I hope you won’t mind my input.

    The issue was being discussed a month or two ago and the University offered a “Smoke Free Forum” to discuss the issue with key administrators with free food provided. If the students against a ban wished to host a “Free Choice Forum” for students to discuss the issue with key administrators, would that receive the same level of support — including free food? Somehow I have doubts about how neutral that “Forum” was.

    Second, “joining 530 colleges and universities” sounds like an excellent example of the “Bandwagon Argument” until you realize that it represents only about ten percent of the total in the U.S. The argument of “Everyone ELSE is jumping off the bridge, why shouldn’t I?” should have been left in grammar school.

    Third, in terms of outdoor smoking harming anyone besides the smoker, please see my comments at the earlier Trojan article: http://dailytrojan.com/2011/04/10/smoke-free-campus-must-become-reality/

    And finally, for anyone wanting to question the basis of such a ban, you might want to read and share a copy of “The Lies Behind The Smoking Bans” at: http://kuneman.smokersclub.com/PASAN/StilettoGenv5h.pdf

    If anyone has any specific, substantive criticisms of anything in “The Lies…” please feel free to share them here. I’ll try to stop back.

    Michael J. McFadden, whose competing interest you'[ll evidently just have to Google.

  4. diane
    diane says:

    I”m not sure being identified as a “progressive university environment” is good for USC. This institution’s reputation is one of entrepreneurialism, self-reliance and trend-setting independence from the common herd. I don’t smoke and I can’t stand the smell of cigarettes. Still, don’t I think putting limits on student’s freedoms is the way to advance USC’s reputation or to attract better students and faculty.

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      “Progressive” you people on the left keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it does.

      Just in case you haven’t been paying attention to the news, personal responsibility and individual liberty are once again on the ascendancy.

      Let’s make a deal: you stay out of our lives and we’ll stay out of yours, kapish?

      Conversely, if you absolutely insist on attending a college with a big brother, totalitarian tilt, I’d like to direct you to either the 405 N (exit Westwood Ave) or the 101 N (exit Left on Berkeley Drive).

      Fight on!

  5. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    When my father was 21, he was a young college student who was also physically active. I’m certain he could run a 5-minute mile a bit faster than most other people at his school. He also smoked. Dad says he liked the way it tasted, the way it made him feel, and he looked cool doing it.

    He’s now 70 years old. He’s been on oxygen for the last 8 years, fights for each and every breathe, grabbing the nebulizer after even the slightest bit of exertion. It is a sad way to go. and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The only pleasure he gets is from few puffs he can draw from his Marboro. He still likes the way it makes him feel, but it’s no longer so cool.

  6. Mike Morgan
    Mike Morgan says:

    While the university does have the right to regulate smoking on its own property, outdoors smoking bans are really just unecessary government overreach. Electronic cigarettes are increasingly popular and accepted now. I’ve tried several brands to avoid odor, save money and enjoy almost anywhere, so see http://www.ecigwerks.blogspot.com for more.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I like smoking. I like the way it tastes, the way it looks, and the way it makes me feel. Shockingly, I also remain physically active and suffer no apparent ill effects from it—I don’t cough, and I’m fairly certain that my five-minute mile is quite a bit faster than most other people at USC.

    The author is correct; if USC bans smoking, it is sending a message to the world. Whether that message is one of “prestige as a progressive university” is of little consequence to me. In my mind, an institution that seeks to control people’s free, legitimate, and legal activities does not convey the element of trust that higher education ought to embody. If people want designated smoking areas, fine. But to ban smoking because it harms other people’s health is ridiculous. Secondhand smoke is far less harmful than any number of activities that these campaigners engage in on a regular basis, and they sound ignorant and ill-informed when they loudly proclaim its negative impact on their wellbeing.

    Grow up, people. Take some responsibility for yourselves, and don’t rely on a “progressive” university environment to do it for you.

    And for God’s sake, next time you’re in France, at least try a puff of a Gauloise. You might be surprised by it.

    • Jay
      Jay says:

      “Shockingly, I also remain physically active and suffer no apparent ill effects from it”

      Yeah, that’s what a lot of people think. Even my brother. Too bad you don’t get cancer/COPD/some smoking-related illness overnight, so you can’t regret it until you’re a few decades down the line. Do some research. Read about the diseases smoking causes or indirectly causes. Take responsibility for your health. And please don’t be bought by the tobacco industry. You like the way it looks. HONESTLY, even elementary school students are judging you.

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