Editorial Board

University should consider compromise for campus smoking ban

As Syracuse University prepares to implement a campus-wide tobacco ban, it should take into consideration the creation of smoking-permitted areas instead of an overall ban. But to ensure that a majority of the campus will be smoke-free, the university should strictly enforce that ban with tickets or other disciplinary actions.

Starting next summer, SU will put into effect a campus-wide tobacco ban. The university says that the focus of the ban is to create a smoke-free culture, not to punish smokers. A tobacco ban on locations bordering public space and the university, such as Waverly and Comstock avenues, is still being debated. Though not all of the details of the ban are known, SU says it will be open to student feedback throughout the school year.

Because it is a private university, SU has the right to create and enforce its own rules. But it is not necessarily the university’s place to make professors and students who use tobacco leave campus in order to smoke. This is why the creation of tobacco zones on campus could be an effective compromise. On-campus smoking zones would allow faculty and students to continue their tobacco habits, but it would keep the smoke contained to specific areas.

If the university considers this compromise, it will need to heavily publicize where each zone is in order for it to be effective. Making zones known and available in convenient locations could keep faculty and students that use tobacco from defying the rules.

In order for the ban to be effective, it needs to be enforced. While students and faculty should be able to smoke in designated areas, they should be punished when they smoke outside of those zones. Though a tobacco-free campus is not meant to be punitive, students and faculty need to obey the rules. The punishment for using tobacco in areas outside of the zones should not be severe, but it needs to be enough to ensure that students and faculty adhere to the ban.

As the university continues to develop its policy for a tobacco-free campus, it should favor compromise over an outright ban.


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