In my 20 or so years of life, I have never once smoked a cigarette.
Scientific research has compiled mountains of evidence suggesting cigarette smoking is bad for one’s health.
Although this is the case and I personally do not smoke cigarettes, I would never tell someone they could not smoke cigarettes, as long as they were of legal age. However, the government does not share my philosophy.
On Sep. 12, the assistant secretary of health at the U.S. Department of Human Services, Howard Koh, announced the launch of a tobacco-free college campus initiative. This initiative aims to promote healthier living, while encouraging college campuses across America to become tobacco free.
Koh said the reasoning for this initiative is because of the nearly 1 million U.S. citizens who start smoking cigarettes after age 18 each year.
While this seems like a righteous and valiant effort against the evil that is tobacco, I find this initiative a little misguided by the U.S. government.
The government seems to think people are going to stop smoking cigarettes just because they would not be allowed to on a college campus. Sure, smokers might get disgruntled by the fact they cannot smoke somewhere — which is not new for them — but they are still going to smoke cigarettes.
A college student does not spend 100 percent of his or her time on campus. College students would still be able to freely smoke off campus. This initiative only accomplishes ridding physical campuses of cigarette smokers.
Many people would argue the initiative would be successful because college campuses would be tobacco free. This would be true, but at what cost?
I find that people seem to forget smokers are people too and therefore have the same rights set forth by the Constitution that we all enjoy. But increasingly, the government has passed laws to take rights from smokers and to inconvenience them enough to stop smoking.
While I can see there are benefits to prohibiting smoking in certain places — airplanes, restaurants, businesses, etc. — there are no benefits to prohibiting smoking in a wide open space.