Outdoor smoking ban: polls, surveys irrelevant


Editorial Board

Issue: The Students’ Association is planning to conduct a poll to find out students’ opinions on an outdoor smoking ban. The poll is a result of the resolution passed by SA on Nov. 29.

The Students’ Association will soon poll students and gather data on what students think about smoking on campus 8212; more specifically, what students think of banning smoking outdoors.

More than likely, this data will eventually be presented to the powers that be 8212; whether they be SDSU administration or the Board of Regents 8212; to determine if they should implement an outdoor smoking ban.

There is no doubt in our minds that polling will find a majority of students are in favor of such a ban.

This does not justify it; this does not make it right. This data should not be used to pursue an all-out smoking ban.

As we stated in our last editorial on this matter, there are few instances in which the majority has voted to protect the rights of the minority. Individual rights should never be subjected to a public vote because the choices of the individual are not a public concern.

We don’t know exactly how SA plans to use this data. They may not use this to pursue a ban at all. They have never, as a body, said that they want to pursue a ban nor have they said they oppose one.

We urge SA to take a stance against an outdoor smoking ban 8212; even when the data inevitably shows a majority of students are for a ban.

This is not contradictory to SA’s mission. SA’s job is represent the students 8212; all students 8212; and defend their rights, especially the rights of the minority.

Smoking outside, where others are not affected, is a personal choice, and solely personal choices should not be regulated.

However, smoking in front of entrances is a problem 8212; even when the 20-foot rule is followed. SA should push for designated smoking areas at every building. These designated spots should be located away from entrances. We feel that this takes care of the issue of unwanted exposure to smoke by entrances.

For those who complain about walking behind a smoker, one suggestion is to walk around the smoker. Or, politely request he or she put out their cigarette.

Please make use of SA’s communications week to make your voice heard. SA has a table in The Union Main Street all week, and they will also hold an open forum in The Union Market on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.

Tell SA you oppose a smoking ban.

Stance: Regardless of what the majority of students think, an outdoor smoking ban violates the rights of the individual. SA should formally oppose a campus-wide ban and instead focus on creating designated smoking areas.