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Opinion

Keeping second hand smoke away from students on campus

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October 14, 2011

Let’s get real about smoking on campus. I know people “need” to have their cigarette, but why can’t they just abide by the campus rules? Currently, you can only smoke 25 feet away from a building. However, there are students and even faculty, that do not obey that rule. There are areas set up all around campus.

They are set at the correct distance away from all of the University’s buildings. Why is it so hard to walk to one and smoke? There are students smoking by doors at the residence halls. I’ve seen many people smoking by entrances at Kleinpell Fine Arts, as well as Centennial Science Hall. It is really frustrating to have to walk through a cloud of smoke in order to get to class. I understand that not every student disobeys the 25 foot rule, but come on folks, just smoke where you are supposed to smoke.

If you are not going to smoke at the designated areas, please stick to the sidewalks. It just seems that some smokers completely forget about common courtesy when they light up. I have no problem with people who smoke as long as they think about how where they smoke affects everybody else. Perhaps the campus should do something about it. Maybe smokers should have to stick to sidewalks to smoke. It may seem extreme, but maybe that’s what this campus needs.

I know that there are many of you that feel the same way as I do. It’s time to change. We need to “light a fire,” so to speak, under the smokers on campus in order to actually smoke in the correct spots. It will be getting cold soon, and all of the smokers will huddle under entrances of KFA and CHS to smoke. During this time, I feel that I have to get to class even earlier, so I won’t have to walk through something resembling a 1960s office.

According to UW-River Falls website, smoking has only been banned in residence halls since 1999, and banned in all buildings since 2004. This is when the 25 foot rule came into play. When I lived in the residence halls, all I could smell, sometimes at night, were cigarettes. When I would look out my window, there were people smoking right by the doors. Second hand smoke is a pain. It’s horrible to smell and is so harmful. I’d say that UWRF has been pretty lenient when it comes to smoking regulations. It may be time to take lead from colleges and universities around the country and completely ban smoking.

According to www.no-smoke.org, universities such as UW-Stout and University of Minnesota Duluth do not allow smoking on campus. Hopefully this will not be necessary. Like I stated earlier, not everybody ignores the 25 foot radius rule, but it is starting to become a persistent problem.

Samantha Harkness is a journalism major at UW-River Falls. She loves reading, writing and watching movies.