November 23, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Micheletto apologizes to fans, aims to regroup following 11-1 loss -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vermont throttles UMass hockey 11-1 -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass guard Trey Davis: ‘There’s a lot coming at me right now’ -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass ‘big four’ neutralized by Notre Dame in 81-68 loss -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass basketball can’t corral Grant, Irish in 81-68 loss -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Frustration haunts Minutemen in 5-3 loss to Boston College -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass hockey drops 5-3 decision to No. 12 Boston College Friday night -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

UMass hockey prepares for nationally ranked Hockey East foes BC, Vermont -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Food scientist proposes way to improve health via breast milk -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons shine in ‘Whiplash’ -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Masculinity: A feminist’s perspective -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass women’s basketball uses size and speed en route to its first win against Maine -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Melissa McBride is the best actor on television -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

‘Gienie’ in a bottle: Patriots, Browns, and Seahawks highlight week 12 picks -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass women’s basketball secures first victory of the season against Maine -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Revisiting ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy as the final installment looms -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Establishing the rules of classroom attendance -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

UMass hockey’s Troy Power reflects as his 100th career game approaches -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sophomore swimmer Meriza Werenski excelling in increased role -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

SGA senator plans survey on bigotry -

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Education better than ban


You may have noticed an email from University of Massachusetts Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy about an upcoming smoking ban. It is a pathetic attempt by the University to govern personal behavior.

Prohibition is never the answer; education is the best way to alter people’s habits.

Over the past 20 years there has been incredible success lowering the smoking rate across this country and it is due largely to an excellent awareness campaign that includes TV commercials, health education, warning labels on cigarettes, bans on smoking indoors and a myriad of products designed to help users quit.      

Banning all tobacco products on campus is a terrible idea, it’s unenforceable and a violation of our personal freedom.

I am not a smoker nor do I support cigarette smoking. Smoking is a disgusting habit and we should be doing everything we can to curb its use.

The sentiment that the smoking ban is founded on is noble. It seeks to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce the amount of litter on campus. They are worthy ideals, but this rule is a clumsy tool and will not succeed at achieving either of the designed goals.

The only way to promote healthy behavior is through education; smokers have to choose to quit. Prohibition never works. It didn’t work for alcohol, it doesn’t work for drugs and it won’t work for tobacco.

Prohibition leaves a window for people to be “badasses” by breaking the rules. For example, underage drinking is way more exciting before you turn 21. If you drink a lot in high school you’re a rebel, if you drink a lot as an adult you’re looked down upon.

What about all the cigarettes butts covering the ground? Banning cigarettes will reduce that, right? Wrong.

The first thing that UMass will do is remove the cigarette butt columns outside every building. Since the rule is voluntary, people won’t stop smoking. The amount of litter will increase because people won’t have a place to throw out their cigarettes.

Others argue that banning smoking, though unenforceable, will set a tone that that kind of behavior is not condoned. The message it really sends is that UMass wishes to impose its own moral choices on you.

The ban is not morality though; morality is about how you treat others, not about how you treat yourself. If cigarettes smokers want to smoke outside, let them. It’s wrong and misguided to think this new rule will change anything.

The fact that people must voluntarily comply means this new rule is not going to be followed. In Boston and New York, the cities have adopted similar policies. It has not stopped anyone from smoking in parks or on the sidewalks.

UMass’s rule goes further than cigarettes; it includes e-cigarettes, dip, chewing tobacco and other smokeless products. Students would be required to leave campus to consume them since students won’t even smoke in their own cars. Given that all freshmen are required to live on campus and a large number of upperclassman live in the dorms, it’s incredibly impractical to have to leave campus every time you want a nicotine fix.

The new rule is imposed on students who were not even included in the decision. It was handed down by the Faculty Senate with hardly any public discussion. The faculty is not required to live on campus. It is not fair that a bunch of commuters get to decide the rules for those who spend every day on the campus.

This ban has been compared by the Faculty Senate to the voluntary compliance request to stop putting chewing gum in water fountains. Once the signs went up, people stopped putting their gum there, so therefore, the Senate expects the same thing to happen with cigarettes. But it is not a comparable example.

First of all, cigarettes are extremely addictive; chewing gum is not, in most cases. Chewing gum was not banned; the faculty just asked people to stop putting gum in water fountains. Disposing chewing gum in water fountains is comparable to banning smoking indoors as it is rude to impose your disgusting habit on others.

Not allowing smoking inside is designed to protect people from being exposed to secondhand smoke, a known carcinogen. Banning outdoor tobacco use only protects users from themselves.

It is not the job of any government or institution. It is an extreme example of the nanny state that liberals are often criticized for.
If UMass is really committed to public health it should just stick to supporting students who want to quit and continue education in the dangers of smoking.

Alexander Delegas is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at


11 Responses to “Education better than ban”
  1. Debbie says:

    A refreshing story for a change. Thank you

  2. UMass Student says:

    All you managed to do was sound like a whiny, over privileged child. The university can do what it wants, you pay them to be here. If this were free, then maybe you had a point.

    Please, for the sake of your own future grow up, be a man, and come to terms with the fact that life isn’t fair.

  3. Reader says:

    Wanna try backing up ANY of your statements with facts, relevant studies, or anything other than whiny speculation?

  4. Josh says:

    Awesome column man!

  5. Alex Delegas says:

    Well thanks for your input “UMass Student.” It’s precisely because we pay to be here that we should have a say in the rules; “taxation without representation” illustrates that principle.

  6. Geez says:

    Let’s all take a chill pill. This is an OpEd. The writer is entitled to his opinion, and by no means is he required to back up his opinions with “facts, relevant studies,” or anything else. This is not a regular column or a news story. If you do not agree with his opinion, you can state that without sounding like you are intolerant towards other people’s stances. There is no point in attacking someone due to a difference in opinion.

  7. UMass Grad says:

    Agreed that the ban is fairly ridiculous, and certainly unenforceable.

    That said, you seem to hand-wave away the annoyance of outdoor smokers, which seems to me the most reasonable excuse for the ban. Not only is it gross to walk past and around smokers on a campus as densely populated as UMass (to say nothing at all of folks with allergies), smoking has also become aesthetically unpleasant these days. UMass can try to cultivate its image however the administrators like, and the argument that a smoke-free campus is aesthetically pleasing to visitors does not seem so unreasonable.

  8. UMass Grad #2 says:

    @UMass Grad: Do you really think that smoking should be banned on campus because it is “annoying” (to some) and “aesthetically unpleasing” (to some)? Isn’t this a slippery slope?

    Also, as far as “all of [those] folks with allergies” are concerned: could you please cite a relevant study on allergic reactions to minimal exposure to cigarette smoke (i.e. from walking past someone smoking outdoors)?

  9. mason says:

    Smoking should be banned and smokers ostracized and shamed( to discourage them from their unhealthy habit) and states and cities should go further as they have done in asheville(smoking is illegal in the downtown area) and ban smoking in entire areas and eventually force smokers to only be able to smoke in their homes or cars.

    Also smoking should be outlawed. Certain people are always talking about how corporations are evil and want to hurt people and pollute the environment with toxins. Yet when you have an actual example of this occuring, nobody cares. The tobacco industry is entirely centered around a product that is designed to be as addictive as possible and the only consequence of using this product is lung damage,cancer and cardiovascular disease.

    We should change our view from slowly allowing tobacco smoke to be less tolerant to outlawing it’s use.

  10. Megan says:

    I personally think it would be wonderful to be able to walk to class in the morning without getting a face full of secondhand smoke from the person walking in front of me. Or to approach the entrance of an academic building without walking through a cloud of it, as people ignore the signs that tell them not to smoke within 20 feet of the building. Sure it’s a personal choice to smoke and I have no problem with those who do, as long as they are respectful of nonsmokers in the general vicinity. Simply being outside when you smoke doesn’t mean you aren’t affecting other people.

  11. Ken says:

    I think a ban is unnecessary, funny how the argument against the smoking ban is essentially the same argument used against gun control…

Leave A Comment