COMMENTARY: Tobacco ban is unrealistic and unfair

Lydia Dowell

Smoking. Yes, it is bad for your health, yada, yada. We all know the drill. But guess what? People still smoke.

Tobacco is a cash crop for Tennessee and Kentucky, where most of us are from. Many farmers make a livelihood from people choosing to use tobacco products.

In fact, tobacco was one of America’s first major exports, and a new country cannot thrive without exports. Thank you, tobacco.

Tobacco is under attack, no doubt. Cities and whole states are passing smoking bans, and college campuses are joining in the trend. And yes, I do mean trend.

Health is a big trend nowadays, and (some) people are making healthier choices and want to control the health choices of others. WKU wants to control the health choices of its students, faculty and staff by tossing this smoking ban threat around in meetings, trying to get everyone on board for a healthier campus.

I’ll tell you what WKU can do to make this campus healthier:

n Preston Center hours are mandatory for all full-time and part-time students not enrolled in a physical education course for the fall and spring semesters.

n Elevators are strictly for the handicapped. Those found in violation will be slapped with a fine.

n All sugary, carbonated beverages will be taken out of the vending machines, as well as calorie packed snacks.

n Rain, sleet, snow or hail: the buses are no longer available.

n All meal plan options will only support healthy choices. That does not include greasy chicken, burgers or pizza.

n Cars on campus? No. All the unhealthy emissions work to pollute the air, as well as coal, factories, public transportation, etc.

n A mandatory bedtime for those living on campus to ensure a good night’s rest.

And I could go on all day. It seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Maybe not, according to WKU.

I can promise you none of this will ever be instated because that would make campus a bit of a police state, right?

This ban includes all tobacco products, which seems a bit extreme. Yes, anybody can go walk into a cloud of smoke and complain about the air they’re breathing, but who can say they have been bothered by dip/snuff?

WKU is a community; this message is drilled in our heads the moment we go through our first orientation. If college’s community life is suppose to prepare you for the real world, tobacco bans on campus do not give students realistic expectations.

When you get a job after you graduate, guess what? You are going to work with smokers. You will play with smokers. You may even fall in love with a smoker.

One of my main questions is what then, if this ban passes, what are faculty and staff suppose to do? People who are here from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. who look forward to those smoke breaks—should they, like students, have to walk/drive off campus to have a cigarette?

I don’t think that is fair.

Lydia dowell

Nashville senior

Student Identity Outreach President

This commentary doesn’t necessarily represent the views of the Herald or the university.