EDITORIAL: WKU aims to be a smoke-free campus

Smoking cartoon

The issue: Starting next spring, WKU will be implementing a three-year plan that will result in a smoke-free campus. 

Our stance: A completely smoke-free campus is unnecessary, but the university providing dedicated smoking areas is a good middle ground. 


Most people are aware of the health risks associated with smoking cigarettes. This message has been bombarded at us for the past decade through MTV ads, lectures from our parents and school health classes that started in middle school. However, this doesn’t stop everybody from smoking.

The majority of college students are over the age of 18, which makes them adults who are capable of making their own decisions. Whether or not WKU’s Student Government Association or administration approves of it, students who choose to smoke will continue to do so.

Smoking rates among college-aged people have gone down since 1997, when 28 percent of people over the age of 19 smoked regularly, according to a study by Harvard’s department of health and social behavior. As of 2013, only about 18 percent of people who are college-aged smoke regularly, according to the Center for Disease Control. 

Assuming those statistics apply to WKU students, the majority don’t smoke cigarettes regularly, which means it isn’t a major problem on campus. Those who do smoke, however, deserve to do so without going completely out of their way. 

While pushing for a smoke-free campus to benefit students’ health is commendable, it’s important to remember the students who smoke pay tuition to attend classes. This means they shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the service they are paying for. 

Students who smoke and live in on-campus housing will probably be the most affected by a smoke-free policy. They already comply with the rule against smoking in dorms, which is great — smoking inside is pretty gross — but they shouldn’t be forced to go across or off campus to smoke. 

It’s also important to consider WKU employees who smoke. Even though they work for the university, that doesn’t mean the university should regulate what staff members do to their bodies. 

Basically, students who smoke will continue to do so even if WKU is a smoke-free campus. Creating designated smoking areas that are placed efficiently for the people who smoke is the best way to solve this problem.