Ban helps non-smokers, despite ineffectiveness

As most of us have heard, ASU recently passed a smoking ban that will officially go into effect in fall 2013 on all four campuses.

Although the smoking ban for ASU campuses yields both negative and positive effects, the ban, as it is currently written, will never be successful at eliminating smoke clouds from campus.

Much like many other universities that have opted for a smoke-free campus, ASU adopted a “self-police” policy, in which students and faculty are urged to remind smokers of the ban and politely ask them to put out their cancer-sticks.

Nevertheless, I continue to support the smoking ban that will never (and let me really emphasize that “never” part) work on a university campus. There are three benefits for non-smokers, whether the ban will work or not.

First, smokers are inherently inconsiderate. I am a smoker, and I cannot tell you the amount of times I have failed to think about how close I am to a door that non-smoking faculty and students leave and enter. Likewise, if an ashtray isn’t within a comfortable distance, I’m more likely than not to crumple my cigarette and toss it on the sidewalk.

Though the smoking ban wouldn’t be very effective in rehabilitating smokers, it will force smokers like myself to become more considerate and aware of our surroundings while continuing to smoke on campus, benefiting non-smoking students, faculty and the campus quality itself.

Second, while I disagree with any state or government body telling me what and what not to do with my body, I can see the benefit in barring smoking on campus. I started smoking at the end of my sophomore year of college.

While I continue to smoke (and honestly love it), it is both a financial and health burden that I would gladly take back. With this ban, perhaps fewer students will be apt to take on an unnecessary addiction as they enter ASU. Although I don’t believe the ban will be successful, let’s be honest — we all follow the rules a little better during our freshman year.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the University accepts federal funding as a public school. The individuals we elect make decisions regarding University policy for us. As a public institution, we not only give them that right, but we sign their paychecks with our taxes and tuition.

Don’t like the smoking ban? Then quit complaining that your presidential candidate wasn’t elected, and realize that when we perform our civic duty by voting, the ballot we submit determines a lot more than a president.

Perhaps the smoking ban will compel students to become more mindful of the officials we elect into power — the governor who appoints non-student members of the Arizona Board of Regents who, in turn, make decisions regarding smoking on campus.

Keep this in mind the next time you light up or protest a sweeping prohibition on anything by the University. In a way, we asked for it.

So guess what, Arizona, you voted for it. Stop complaining and enjoy it.


Reach the columnist at or follow him at @calebvaroga


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