Post Classifieds

Smoking Ban Doesn't Hold Water in Regards to Public Health

By Robert Giorgi
On April 13, 2015

"One can be fined for smoking a cigarette where it is prohibited in NJ, including on campus."

Slowly it creeps, pulsing from an intangible location in the chest. It manifests itself as a form of restlessness and over time increases in intensity. Eventually the subject becomes aware of this pull, which can only be described as anxiety. This malevolent force not only takes control of the body, but at its apex it invades the mind. Previously devoted to a conversation about the legitimacy of the Confederation, free thought is transmuted into one aching desire: I've got to have a cigarette. The strength of one's will has no effect on this driving need. The strong can manage it better, whether by an aid limiting its advancement, or sheer determination. The relief felt, once that frequently monitored clock hits a designated time, quickly vanishes upon exiting the building. I am greeted with one of the many “Smoke-Free” signs, which indicate that my agony will continue. The sign remains, smiling with a smug righteousness, yet I shuffle on to the next class, because my future is more important.  

I know the dangers of smoking. How could I not? The ads on TV are showing me an image of my rotting lungs followed by a skeletal figure, dragging an oxygen tank, urging me to quit. In fact, the dangers are well known as the majority of the United States has instituted laws prohibiting citizens from lighting up a cigarette indoors. These laws are designed not with the health of the smoker in mind, but rather for non-smokers. Those, without having a choice in the matter, who had been forced to endure all the effects undoubtedly attributed to the disgusting habit. I'd like to point out that some of these governments, so magnanimous in their concern for a citizen’s unwanted exposure to a disagreeable environment, still allowed their public schools to have morning prayer. I digress, for the issue at hand rests not with the government, but with The College Assembly.

Having faith in only what can be proven with logical evidence, I am a staunch supporter of any regulations preventing the unwanted subjection of its people in any way. What puzzles me isn't the reason behind the ban, but rather the prohibition of other, smoke-free substances. The College banned tobacco, in any form, from being used on campus. Not satisfied with that level of protection over the health of its students, The College Assembly felt the need to ban E-cigarettes. This goes beyond the realm of puzzling into a wilderness of chaotic lunacy. If this information is new to the readers, I am not surprised. The signs around campus are just too small to fit: “Smoke-free, spit-free, pouch free, nicotine free and foreign water vapor-free.”

It was last spring, during one of their assembly meetings, that this addition to the smoking ban was established. The reason for it, outlined in an April edition of Quo Vadis, was attributed to the increase in popularity and the possible risks of the chemicals in e-cigarettes. The risks are currently unknown, but the chemical substances found in most e-cigarettes includes propylene glycol, glycerin,

water, nicotine and added flavoring. In less than ten minutes, I found that with the exception of nicotine, each one of those ingredients is consumed daily by frequenters of the dining facility and vending machines. Coca-Cola, along with many of the other beverage options contains propylene glycol. Those guilt-free artificial sweeteners contain glycerin, as do many skin lotions, yogurt, as well as mustard and vinegar. I find it hard to believe that The College Assembly is ignorant enough to find it necessary to ban these relatively harmless chemicals in the name of public health. There was also a discussion about limiting social media access on campus computers. Therefore, not only is the Assembly fabricating reasons behind nonsensical bans, they have considered limiting our access to information. It is disconcerting, especially after scanning my permanent memory banks for a comparison. One immediately came to mind. They were a governing party that designated policy based on unknown risks, limited the access of information, and used faulty logic all under the guise of public health. Then, they invaded Poland.

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