The Orion

Breathe Easy

Kendall George

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It might be time to break out the nicotine gum, because effective September 1st, the entire Chico State campus, as well as all other CSU campuses, will be smoke and tobacco free.

That means no cigarettes, no vaping, no pipes, cigars or snuff products of any kind will be allowed in any area of campus. This change is part of the System Wide Smoke and Tobacco Free Environment Executive Order 1108.

School can be stressful, and relaxing after a physics midterm with a puff might be exactly what you need to continue the day. However, there are so many students who don’t, and the majority of smoke spots on campus intersect with heavy foot-traffic areas.

Being surrounded by the second-hand chemicals can cause long-term damage to one’s health, and many people don’t think anyone wants to walk through a cloud of smoke on the way to class at 10 a.m.

“I’m mostly a social smoker at parties, or when I’m stressed,” said sophomore Javier Contreras. “I don’t see a problem with it. Keep our campus clean.”

Cigarettes are horrible for the environment. If not found, non-biodegradable remnants can find their way into the Chico Creek and into bigger bodies of water where otters, fish and some land animals find their homes near or in the river. The discarding of these toxic chemicals cause harm to the ecosystem.

On a larger scale, the manufacturing of cigarettes leads to deforestation, which hurts the air we breathe and is a leading cause of climate change.

“Kicking the habit is difficult and I believe that this ban could help people quit, however it’s also unfair to students who live on campus and would just like to take a break outside and light up,” said junior Santiago Houldson-Barrera. Cigarettes are bad for you and too many people, it is an uphill battle.

Though, stopping cold turkey is easier than trying to ween yourself off. In a 2007 study, 22 percent of individuals trying to stop immediately were successful, so perhaps now is a better time than any.

“I initially thought that the tobacco ban was unfair to people who want to have a cigarette without having to go off campus.” said sophomore Alex Coady. “However, as someone who is trying to quit smoking, I think it would be a benefit for myself and for others to have less of a tobacco presence on campus. It isn’t that huge an inconvenience for smokers on the grand scheme of things.”

Despite those that will disagree, investing in your health, wallet and planet is far more rewarding than having a free space to smoke on campus.

Kendall George can be reached at [email protected] or @kendallmgeorge on Twitter

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Breathe Easy