Students’ Association smoking ban serves university gold-star agenda

Collegian Editorial

Collegian Editorial


The Students’ Association passed a resolution in support of a campus-wide smoking ban in a 17-12 vote at its Jan. 30 meeting.

We, at The Collegian, believe the smoke-free policy will restrict the individual’s right of choice and it will be ineffective.

The ban takes away a personal decision, it will be ineffective and difficult to enforce, it will have negative consequences on the environment and it is seemingly just another gold star that South Dakota State can add to its report card. 

The decision to smoke cigarettes is a personal one. It is a personal right to choose to smoke tobacco. University officials should not make that decision for all students, faculty and staff, while on campus.

For many international students attending SDSU, smoking is a cultural norm and considered a social aspect of their lives. Smoking is something commonly shared between friends and family over conversations and is a communal activity. 

Many international students attend classes, work and live on campus. The ban is inconvenient for many of those students because most do not own cars to leave campus. Campus is their home. They do not have the privilege of driving off campus to take a drag. Especially when the boundaries of campus are not known or clearly defined. 

For some students, smoking is a way to take a break from the stresses of class, work and other responsibilities. Although smoking is not a healthy habit, it is still a personal choice. We, at The Collegian, understand smoking in open spaces has some effects on the people around them, but the 10 seconds of discomfort aren’t worth taking away someone’s right.

Additionally, the smoke-free policy will be ineffective, much like the current rule to smoke 25 feet away from a building.

This argument is a waste of time because enforcement of the soon-to-be-previous policy was nonexistent. 

Due to this, we have reason to believe that the ban will not be enforced either.

If the University Police Department is going to enforce the rule, who is going to pay for the extra effort to patrol the campus grounds? Where will this money come from? 

If fellow students, faculty and staff are going to be responsible for the enforcement of the policy like other SDBOR schools, how will that work?

Once SDSU implements the policy, the cigarette receptacles around campus are going to be removed eventually since there would be no need for them. More than likely, there will be people who do not agree with or follow the rule. As a result, their discarded cigarette butts are going to start to accumulate on sidewalks, boulevards and grassy spaces around campus. 

The ban will also affect the students, faculty and staff if caught smoking on campus. 

If caught, what will the repercussions be?

Consequences could possibly be classes similar to alcohol education classes. It could be education materials given by UPD, HEROH or the Wellness Center. It could also be a fine or penalty.

The consequences also play a role in the enforcement. If there is a lack of enforcement, there will obviously be a lack of penalty, which brings us back to the initial problem — the lack of enforcement. 

The entire fight against smoking on campus seems like a university-righteous notion to add a gold star to its list of accomplishments. It’s not a policy that can be properly enforced and will only result in angering the people who can’t do what they should rightfully be allowed to do.