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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The university’s new anti-smoking policy doesn’t make much sense

Harry Mertz Bio-Chem major on the right. “Way to busy to go off campus. I have 7 minutes in between four hour classes. I’m not losing any of those 7 minutes to hike off campus to a smoking zone. Increased enforcement seems like a waste of Public Safety resources.”
Brennan Bukowski History major on the left. “Ideal for commuters to be able to smoke on campus and it seems like 90 percent of the population does.” 

 After reviewing the University of Massachusetts Boston Tobacco Policy Report that was published on Oct. 20 this year, I have come to a conclusion: the policy doesn’t make sense. The policy prevents smoking on all campus locations, including parking lots and any part of the harbor walk owned by UMass.

This means that students, staff, and faculty will be unable to smoke conveniently outside of any of the buildings, and instead will have to take a shuttle bus off campus in order to partake in their nicotine regiments. Seems like a lot of work just to have a cigarette, considering it takes all of about a few minutes to smoke, but upwards of half an hour to take the shuttle bus off campus and return.

The policy is reportedly made with several factors in mind: the health of both smokers and non-smokers on campus, improved endeavors for fire reduction, as well as the environmental factors concerned with the production of cigarette waste. Whilst all these reasons are certainly a prudent cause for smoking reform on campus, they still don’t justify the strict measures which will accompany it.

As a non-smoker, I argue from a fairly non-biased stance; the new policy is unfair to smokers. That being said, I agree entirely that smoking on campus constitutes a social problem.

It’s hard to walk outside of any of the main buildings without coming across some cigarette smoke. Behind Wheatley, the main entrance to McCormack, the top of the stairs by Healey, the concrete wall in front of the Science Center.

Cigarette smoke is everywhere on campus, and yes, it’s something that needs to be fixed. I thank the college for taking steps to fix this problem for me and fellow nonsmokers.

However, the policy is deeply flawed and unfair. It’s revoking the rights of smokers to smoke, and I’m not quite sure how the college expects to uphold this policy. The policy reports claim the new rule will be upheld and maintained through “word of mouth;” a civil approach of reminding people that they can’t smoke in the area they are, or anywhere else. It further explains that if the policy can’t be upheld through the simple, civil method, disciplinary action will be taken.

The right to smoke is almost as important as the right to clean air. When you think about it, if there’s a significant problem with cigarette smoke on campus, that would mean there is a lot of  people smoking. The school couldn’t possibly disregard the rights of hundreds, if not thousands of students and faculty, right?

My suggestion: create a few designated spots on campus where smokers can go to smoke without having to be in the way of other students, faculty, and guests on campus.

Here’s where I get biased. I don’t like smoke: it’s gross, smells bad, and makes me feel claustrophobic. I’m all for a policy that makes my air cleaner. So for the respect of smokers and their rights to smoke, give them a spot.

Prohibiting smokers from smoking would disrupt the status quo of the population; smoking on campus has become one of the small intricacies of campus life at UMass Boston. By taking that away from the student body, you’re disrespecting numerous students’ basic rights. I urge the staff, student body, and the policy makers to think critically on this newly formed policy and consider how much good it is actually going to do.