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Editorial

UW-River Falls should adopt smoke-free policy

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November 8, 2012

On average, 443,000 Americans die of smoking related deaths each year, including 49,400 from secondhand smoke, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aside from the health concerns, inhaling unwanted secondhand smoke is a nuisance to those traversing the sidewalks of UW-River Falls. Walking through unwanted cigarette smoke can put a damper on anyone’s day.

Last spring a survey at UWRF showed that 64.4 percent of students would support a tobacco-free campus.

The discussion to become a smoke-free, or tobacco-free campus has begun anew this year.
Around Nov. 16 the Chancellor’s Task Force on a Campus Tobacco Policy will bring forward a recommendation to the Faculty Senate.

We at the Student Voice are proposing that UWRF become a smoke-free campus and hope the task force’s recommendation follows. We at the Student Voice support a smoke-free campus, but not a tobacco-free campus.

Tobacco, most specifically chew, is widely used on campus and, for the most part, doesn’t disrupt anyone other than the person chewing tobacco.

What sets cigarette smoking apart from other tobacco use is secondhand smoke. No one likes walking through a cloud of smoke on their way to class. Even worse is walking behind a person and have a plume of smoke come wafting into your face.

Despite the fact that we do not believe that tobacco should be banned on campus doesn’t mean that we commend the use of tobacco. Much like smoking, using tobacco also means taking a serious health risk. However, since it does not effect, from a health standpoint, people other than the one using the tobacco we see no reason to endorse it being banned.
A common argument against banning smoking on campus is that it is legal and that it is a person’s right to smoke in public. There is no such right written in state or national laws, and there is certainly no right to harm another person.

As of now there is only one four year campus in the UW System that is tobacco-free, and that is UW-Stout.

Why not take a huge step and make UWRF the second school to go smoke free? Whether you agree or not, now is the time to make your voice heard.