GSU Should Enforce Anti-Smoking Laws
Let me paint a picture for you.
It’s 11:50 on a Tuesday, and you’ve just finished a class in GCB. A friend of yours has asked you to meet up with you in the library, and you’ve agreed. However, first you have to get through the courtyard, which is completely filled by this point.
No matter. Nothing you can’t handle. You decide to go anyway.
You walk through the doors of GCB and what are you greeted with?
A cloud of smoke and a blast of rap music, most likely.
In the past, I’ve argued for a complete smoking ban on campus, and I still firmly believe that the issue deserves proper consideration and debate.
However, even given the backing of the student body, I’m not sure if such a policy would ever make it through the bureaucracy that is Georgia State. A much more agreeable and practical solution, it seems, would be to simply enforce existing anti-smoking laws, which the university seems to continue to ignore.
Although Georgia’s Smokefree Air Act prohibits smoking within 25 feet of a public building, this law is frequently and flagrantly ignored by much of the student body. Even worse, some smokers seem particularly content, it seems, to park themselves right in front of the doors sometimes. And who wants to leave the chaos that is GCB on a Tuesday or Thursday only to be greeted by a plume of smoke?
Now, I’m not here to remove someone’s right to choose when it comes down to whether or not to smoke. If you want to pretend to be some Parliament-smoking, skinny-jean-wearing hipster, then be my guest.
All I ask is that you don’t smoke in front of me. However, when someone’s personal choice to do something stupid invades the rights of others to abstain, that’s where I have a problem.
Further, the law is the law and must be obeyed, especially in this instance. While this may be difficult for some to understand at first, the students will eventually learn the rules. Post a few signs, slap a few fines and people will get the picture.
And while I understand trying to enforce a campus-wide smoking ban in the vein of schools like Emory University might be more problematic, enforcing existing state law would be much easier goal to accomplish — and less bureaucratic.
Smokers would still be able to indulge themselves only farther away and in a public place like a park or the sidewalk, which is certainly reasonable.
And considering all the evil cigarettes and other tobacco-based products have caused over the century — cancer, heart and respiratory disease, etc — it’s time we take a stand against these habit-forming products, and enforcing anti-smoking laws on college campuses presents a great opportunity to do that.