Smoking should be banned on campus


Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

When walking through the gorgeous Chico State campus, there are a few things to expect. You should be prepared to see a seemingly endless variety of trees, hear the birds chirping and the creek babbling. What you shouldn’t have to be prepared for is inhaling a cloud of someone else’s secondhand smoke.

One of the first things I noticed about Chico when I moved here two years ago is that a lot of people here smoke. In my hometown, smoking is very frowned upon. Smoke shops are far and few between, and some nearby communities have even banned smoking in public.

That is not the case here in Chico. People can be seen regularly smoking on street corners, in Bidwell Park and on the Chico State campus. Students and residents here are free to light up a cigarette whenever they please, and that needs to stop.

Smoking on campus outside of a designated smoking area should be banned. It creates a plethora of health and environmental problems, and overall makes our school a less desirable place to be.

Nearly every day I walk past someone on campus smoking, and I have to either hold my breath or change my route to avoid walking through the tobacco smoke. When I am outdoors, I want to enjoy the atmosphere around me, not get caught in a cloud of chemicals previously in someone else’s lungs.

The current school policy allows smoking anywhere on campus as long as you are at least 25 feet from a building entrance. There are designated smoking areas, but they are mere suggestions; no one is required to use them.

I am a firm believer in personal liberties, and I am not telling people they can’t smoke, but the act of smoking affects more than just one person. When you choose to smoke a cigarette or vape, you are making that same decision for everyone you walk past or come in contact with.

Inhaling smoke from someone else’s cigarette isn’t just gross, it’s unhealthy. The American Lung Association reports that over 40,000 people die each year from secondhand smoke. Additionally, second-hand smoke can induce heart attacks in high-risk individuals, even if the exposure is very short term.

It is astonishing that Chico State, a forward-thinking institution, still allows people to smoke and vape almost anywhere they want. By not restricting smoking to designated areas, they are inadvertently harming their students and their campus. Because people are allowed to smoke wherever they like, cigarette butts are thrown on the ground across the university.

The easy and obvious solution to this problem would be to ban smoking everywhere on campus except for designated areas. These smoking areas already exist and have ashtrays to prevent litter. If the university were to require that those be used, our campus would be much healthier and more enjoyable.

It is your choice if you want to smoke. I am not going to lecture anyone on why they should quit smoking. I do believe, however, that if you are going to smoke, you should have to do it at home or out of the way of people trying to enjoy the fresh air.

Carson Predovich can be reached at [email protected] or @cpredo120 on Twitter