To be tobacco free or not to be?

Should MNSU be tougher about smoking on campus? 

Maria Ly
Staff Writer

Minnesota State University, Mankato has a tobacco free policy, but fails to enforce this policy as students still smoke on campus property. 

According to the Minnesota State University, Mankato website, it states, “Minnesota State University, Mankato prohibits smoking, tobacco use, electronic delivery devise use, and tobacco sale (including the use or sale of smokeless tobacco products and electronic delivery device products) on property or in vehicles it owns, operates or leases. This policy applies to all students, employees, visitors, or any person on University property.”

Although MNSU has a tobacco free policy, many students still manage to smoke. Why is that? 

The reason why the tobacco free policy isn’t strict is because the policy is student enforced. There are no faculty, staff, or security officers who enforce the policy on campus. The question now is: should the smoking policy be transferred to make it enforced by authority on campus to make the policy stricter? 

Personally, I’m on the fence on whether or not we should keep tobacco policies the way it is due to cultural and financial barriers. On the other hand, I also do not appreciate the second-hand smoke going into my lungs when I simply go through the library entrance. 

When walking through campus, one could see people smoking outside of the library. One may see someone discreetly vaping as they walk to class. One could see someone vaping inside in the library or CSU, using their jacket to hide the smoke. One could walk down the sidewalks and see the grass littered in cigarette butts. 

Smoking has become such a normalized thing on campus, and taking it away could be totally ineffective. 

Smoking also comes with many cultural aspects. Some students in certain cultures may be socialized into smoking. Smoking is also addictive, and if the tobacco policy becomes stricter, students may still find a way to smoke on campus. Are there more beneficial ways to help students who currently smoke?

I personally think, maybe having designated areas outside on campus where smoking is allowed could be a good alternative rather than getting rid of smoking altogether. It could be located in discrete areas where there is less traffic. That way, a student like me who hates second hand smoke could avoid those situations, and the people who do smoke can still have the areas where they can. 

I personally do not like smoking or tobacco, but thinking about the campus as a whole, I am not sure if getting rid of smoking altogether would be practical or beneficial.

Header photo courtesy of Flickr.

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