A plan in cigarette ettiquette


Banning tobacco products on campus is a growing trend among U.S. universities. The American NonsmokersÕ Rights Foundation reported in 2013 that over 1,000 colleges have banned smoking on campus.

However, just because other universities are joining the anti-smoking movement does not mean that UVM should do so blindly.

UVM does have a smoking problem, but the problem is less the smoking itself and more the lack of etiquette involved with smoking.

Surprisingly, the majority of the UVM student population does not smoke. A 2009 study conducted by UVM found that three percent of students smoked cigarettes on a daily basis.

While a minority of UVM students smoke, those who do certainly make their presence known on campus. From the sheer quantity of cigarette butts on the sidewalks to the disregard of the 25-foot building distance rule, many smokers make a poor impression.

As a nonsmoker, I am rarely bothered by seeing students smoking on campus since it is a relatively small group. What does bother me is the lack of respect that some smokers show toward fellow students and the campus itself.

As a college known for its environmental and social awareness, the amount of students who discard their non-biodegradable filters on the campus grounds is alarming.

Most student smokers would not throw candy wrappers on the ground, yet they practice the same technique with their cigarette butts.

A surprising amount of smokers nonchalantly smoke while walking to class and make no effort to blow smoke away from others.

UVMÕs smoking problem comes down to basic manners. Smokers must be considerate while walking to class, respect the 25-foot distance rule and dispose of cigarettes properly.

There is an art to smoking respectfully, and unfortunately many UVM smokers have yet to acquire it. But does that mean that all cigarettes should be banned? Not now, at least.

Before resorting to prohibiting tobacco products on campus, there needs to be a substantial effort to change the smoking culture. To begin, more cigarette disposal receptacles are desperately needed to reduce the pollution on campus.

Secondly, the rule of smoking 25 feet away from buildings needs to be closely enforced.

Lastly, a campus-wide campaign discouraging students from smoking in general, and if they do, to smoke respectfully, would be much appreciated by nonsmoking students.

Not all smokers are bothersome, and by this age we have earned the right to make this personal decision. But when our decisions begin to impact the cleanliness of campus and the quality of air, changes need to be made.

The University should launch a two-year campaign to change the smoking culture, and if cigarette butts and smoking near buildings are still major issues at the end, then perhaps the tobacco ban should be reconsidered in the future.

The mention of a tobacco ban should serve as a wake up call to some smokers that unless habits are changed, the consequences could be severe.