We all know the risks of smoking. Though smoking is a “lifestyle choice” for students on campus to release stress, it cannot be accurately compared to social drinking. Someone drinking does not affect the health of others around them. While there is no such thing as second-hand drunkenness, we are all widely aware there is second-hand smoking.
It is unfair for non-smoking students and faculty to be forced to breathe in these chemicals while walking to their destinations.
I propose that Pacific University takes action as soon as possible with President Hallick’s plans to create a smoke-free campus.
It is your choice to smoke, just as it is your choice to drink alcohol, caffeine and energy drinks, use drugs, or have unprotected sex. When your decisions endanger the people around you, that is when it is no longer your choice. Your friends, family, classmates, professors, and everyone you care about, including campus visitors such as members of the Forest Grove community may all be harmed.
I used to think that second-hand smoking was not too serious but rather was just an inconvenience and a nuisance. When we walk to our classes, the UC, and our residence halls, we are in danger and increasing our risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer or heart disease by approximately 25 percent, and ultimately dying earlier than we expect.
While I understand some students feel it is a violation of their rights, it is neither decent nor responsible to expose unwilling parties to carcinogens they did not choose to expose themselves to.
Since Pacific University is our “home,” we should make it feel safe for the hundreds of others around us; some things cannot be allowed at “home” when you share it with other people. Second-hand smoke has been a problem on this campus for a very long time.
Pacific University does have a smoke-free and tobacco-free policy, but only for the Health Professions Campus.
According to the list of U.S. Colleges and Universities, 1,159 college or university campuses in the U.S. are 100 percent smoke-free. If larger public colleges such as Oregon State University, University of Oregon, and Portland Community College can be smoke-free, surely a small private university where off-campus areas are very close by could make a smoke-free policy work.
Remember, smoking is banned in all public places in the state of Oregon. Our college campus is a public place and should be treated as such. If Pacific University decides not to become a smoke-free campus, I would encourage the university to at least enforce the current smoking laws and policies. Smoking is happening near residence hall windows and doors, near areas on the way to class and the epicenters of campus activity. We should all have the lifestyle choice of not being exposed to toxic chemicals.