Is the battle to make SDSU a smoke-free campus a losing one?

The Collegian Staff


For the last two years, the Students Association has brought to the table a smoking ban.


The attempt to pass a smoking ban will never truly go away. It’s an issue that will be debated for years to come, but will probably never pass.


The Students’ Association recently voted on whether or not we should support a smoking ban on campus. After heated debates about the issue, a 17-12 vote stalled the idea of supporting a smoking ban on campus.

Since 2011, SA has dealt with five separate bills in regards to a smoking ban, regulating smoking on campus or other topics related to smoking on campus. During the past two years, SA has tried to pass bills supporting a smoking ban and this year some senators also tried to add the use of smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes to that ban. Both attempts to pass these bills have failed, but certain regulations regarding smoking do exist on campus. Part of these regulations stipulate that smokers must remain at least 25 feet away from buildings while smoking.

While the university does have regulations regarding smoking, it does not seem to be enforced. On a daily basis, nearly anywhere on campus, smokers can be seen smoking within 25 feet of buildings. If the university decided to implement enforcement of the smoking ban would most likely be similar to the enforcement of the current regulations; there wouldn’t be any.

And even if the university were to attempt to enforce a smoking ban, it would be extremely hard to do so. Campus covers a lot of space. Whose job will it be to go look for and apprehend people who are breaking the rules? Are there going to be guards posted around campus who are tasked with the mission of stopping people from smoking? Another thing that people could argue against a smoking ban is the fact that the boundaries of campus aren’t marked well and it’s unclear exactly where campus begins and ends.

At the end of the day, smokers are going to find a place where they can smoke whether that place is on campus or off of it. If a smoking ban is ever implemented by the university and smokers are forced to leave campus, it could lead to smokers just leaving a ton of cigarette butts on the fringes of campus. That wouldn’t look very good for our university.

People have rights and the right to choose whether or not they want to smoke cigarettes is one of those rights. We can’t really take anyone’s rights away, but attempts to support the enforcement of a smoking ban are going to continue to be brought to the Students’ Association for years to come. One reason this will be a recurring issue is because SDSU is the only school within the South Dakota Board of Regents system to not have a ban on smoking. Another reason this issue is going to keep being brought to SA is that there is about equal support on both viewpoints in the debate, for and against the ban.