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Smoking is a student right

Last week the faculty Senate approved a smoking policy to ban all tobacco products on campus.

Since the approval by the faculty Senate, the policy is on its way to the Governances Advisory Council for approval then the signature by President Vartabedian.  The decision to ban smoking on campus is not only unfair, but seems to take away a freedom for those who attend Missouri Western.

Students pay so much in tuition to attend this institution and are told they are not able to have a right is completely cruel. The decision to make the campus tobacco free was decided by a group of leaders from each branch of students, faculty, and the board of governors. They don’t represent a majority of those who are on Westerns campus each day.

However, the idea that students walking past smokers will inhale cigarette smoke leading to complications from second hand smoke is untrue. Over 25 percent of students on campus smoke on a daily basis, and that doesn’t include the faculty and staff. Banning all tobacco products seems a bit extreme, since those who chew can’t affect other students besides themselves.

We understand that the idea behind this policy is to help students stay healthy. It just feels that the policy is authoritarian in a way to force smokers not to be able to smoke on the grounds. Those who plan to implement this policy and support it need to worry about their own health, and not the health of others.

Voters in Missouri will decide this November how to vote for a tobacco tax, in which a percentage of that money will be going toward higher education. There is no doubt that Western would have no problem taking their percentage.

Students will continue to use tobacco products, but will do it secretly. This is what happens at universities that have smoke-free policies in place. You can take away the right on campus, but once students and faculty leave the campus they will continue to use these products.

Before the final step of this policy, we would advise those who have yet to vote on this matter to think about the rights being taken away from a portion of those who attend your institution. If we allow these privileges to be taken away, what will be the next thing taken away? Will the number of student enrollment decrease, or will students continue to smoke even though the policy is implemented.

Stand up for yourself and the freedom of others and vote against the smoke-free campus.

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