To smoke or not to smoke — that may no longer be the question at Amarillo College. The AC Student Government Association is investigating whether to ask the college board of regents to pass a smoking ban. If approved, the ban would mean no smoking would be allowed on any AC campus, which would ensure better health for smokers and non-smokers.The SGA sent out a survey recently to see how students feel about the issue. SGA officials say they hope to get 1,000 responses. Currently, those in favor of the smoking ban are in the lead. If enough people oppose smoking, the SGA will take the issue to the regents in hopes the board will pass a complete smoking ban.
The issue already has lit a fire under campus smokers. Many claim that a ban on smoking outdoors is an unfair inconvenience that discriminates against them. Clearly, quitting smoking is far from easy, but we believe quitting ultimately will lead to improved health and wellbeing. Regardless of smokers’ feelings, it is inarguable that a smoke-free campus will ensure better health for all. The SGA already has considered recommending that the college offer smoking cessation classes and other support systems for smokers. Similar bans have been implemented at local hospitals, and surely those measures have helped longtime and recent smokers to quit. Furthermore, electronic cigarettes provide a less publicly offensive option for former smokers.
The SGA is suggesting that people be allowed to continue to use e-cigarettes outdoors. While smokers may whine about the possible ban, we think they have brought it upon themselves by failing to abide by the current regulations to stay 20 feet away from building entrances and exits while smoking. Right now, non-smokers must pass through a noxious cloud of smoke to enter and exit most campus buildings, which is an unfair infringement on our personal life choice not to smoke. Nearly every non-smoker has been forced to inhale secondhand smoke when entering and exiting buildings. The repugnant stench and damaging effects of the smoke linger long after the smoke has dissipated.We know smoking is unhealthy — even smokers know that. We also know it is an addiction that is hard to overcome. Yes, quitting smoking is hard, it’s a challenge, but you will thank yourself later — and so will your classmates, not to mention the enormous amount of money you will save. So do yourself — and society — a favor and take the SGA smoking ban survey. You can find it in your AC Gmail account. We hope you support the decision to push for a smoking ban at AC. Now is the time to stop blowing smoke and make your opinion count.