Don’t tell smokers new smoking ban policy is for their own good

October 8, 2010 Commentary Print Print
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The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma City University all have smoke-free campuses. On Aug. 1, 2011 OCCC will join the movement.

Once the policy goes into effect, cigarettes may not be lit on campus unless the smoker is in a car with the windows rolled up.

An individual who chooses not to comply will be fined.

For those of us who smoke, this will be an unwelcome change.

OCCC President Paul Sechrist said he announced the decision early in order for smokers on campus to adapt to the changes.

The smoking ban has its supporters.

The Leadership Council, the college’s equivalent to a student council, supported the issue.

“We believe such a policy will contribute to a healthier campus environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors,” said Acting Chairperson Tino Ceballo, at the time the vote was taken, about a year and a half ago.

The argument is that smoking is dangerous not only to its user, but also to those who may come into contact with secondhand smoke.

English Professor Michael Punches said, for his own selfish reasons, he advocates the ban.

“I have been trying to quit smoking for 20-plus years, and the campus decision could help me accomplish that,” Punches said.

Punches said he can remember the days when a space on the second floor of the Arts and Humanities building was used for the smoking section.

“We once smoked in the classroom, then were asked to move down the hall, then outside, and now not at all,” Punches said.

He promotes the ban, he said, because of the danger is causes others around the smoke.

Yet student Todd Lakin said he is very unhappy with the decision.

“It’s not fair. I didn’t even know till you just told me. I would feel like I was in high school if someone told me I couldn’t smoke here,” Lakin said.

He said he would not stop smoking on campus until he is caught in the act, and faced punishment.

It is common to see smokers outside whenever a student comes to campus, because OCCC has many students and staff who smoke.

It seems unfair to disregard their preferences.

As long as those who puff on the “cancer sticks” stand beyond the 25 feet mark, what is the issue?

That being said, I realize it is a health issue for some. But so is eating fried food from the cafeteria.

All school and no nicotine makes Jack a dull boy.

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