By Eric Bernier – Contributing Writer
In an email sent February 19 concerning on-campus smoking, President Alexander said, “On Tuesday, April 19, with an online balloting process … each member of our community will have one vote.” This vote will help decide whether or not there will be a ban of all tobacco use on campus and at Lasell Village.
Currently, smoking tobacco is not allowed within 25 feet of any building, something we are taught as freshmen, and reminded of at every doorway. On some areas of campus, including the Winslow Academic building, there is not 25 feet between a building and another building. This leads people to smoke just outside of the buildings, creating a cloud to walk through at any exit.
While everyone has the right to smoke if they are old enough and duly follow school policy, the secondhand smoke that is produced affects everyone in the Lasell community.
According to the Public Library of Science’s, “Studies demonstrated that smoking had a strong relationship with lung cancer and 70 to 90 percent of lung cancer patients are directly attributed to cigarette smoking.” For people who are exposed to the carcinogens in cigarettes, secondhand also gives them an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
There are other factors that can cause lung cancer, but smoking and the inhalation of secondhand smoke, present the biggest risk. People who are exposed to secondhand smoke often don’t have a choice, but they should not be forced to deal with smoke in the most congested parts of campus. This ban would provide a good start: letting students smoke on main roads would be an easy way to minimize exposure to toxins.
While secondhand smoke can cause problems for people who have asthma, I myself have pulmonary hypertension (PH), a condition which causes shortness of breath and pain in my lungs whenever I exercise. Similar to asthma, PH is affected by the presence of smoke. While I do not have a problem with people choosing to smoke, I ask those who smoke to be aware of the areas other people frequent, and to realize choosing to smoke can be harmful for everyone.