Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Students should fume over smoking ban


By Nathan Lamb

Herter 227 lecture hall was filled to the breaking point with occupants, as one student after another voiced their staunch opposition to the “Tobacco-Free UMass Amherst” policy.

Regardless, the Faculty Senate has proven yet again its blatant disregard for the will of the student body, endorsing the policy with a vote of 14-to-7. Not one single student, smoker or non-smoker, spoke in favor of the policy.

Generally, the University of Massachusetts is good at making it at least seem like the opinion of the students is taken into consideration, but in this instance, the students were flat-out ignored.

The policy, being painted as a “smoke-free” policy, is testament of its intrinsically shady nature. The policy does not aim to simply reduce second hand smoke for non-smokers. Rather, it is an ultimatum handed down by the faculty telling students what legal products or substances they can or cannot use during their stay at UMass. The policy bans all tobacco products and even one non-tobacco product aimed at helping people quit smoking, electronic cigarettes. Among the most egregious aspects of the policy are bans on smokeless tobacco and smoking in one’s own personal vehicle while on campus.

One of the main arguments made by the faculty in support of the policy is the failed enforcement of the state law, which requires people to stand at least 20 feet away from buildings when smoking. It is strange how UMass has failed to adequately enforced this law. Could it be because cigarette butt receptacles are literally placed next to the doors of buildings on campus? Maybe they should try out the revolutionary idea of moving these receptacles to 20 feet away.

Has there been an effort to encourage students to smoke away from buildings? No. Maybe they should provide designated smoking areas in high-traffic areas on campus, much like the gazebos at Hampshire College, for smoking with protection from the weather. Rather than making any attempt whatsoever to curb the problem of smoking in front of buildings, it seems to authority the 20 feet law is unenforceable. After claiming this existing law unenforceable, the supporters within Faculty Senate went on to explain how the new bans would also be essentially unenforceable.

Reducing second-hand smoke is an understandable goal for UMass, especially in front of buildings. However, university and faculty supporters of the tobacco-free policy have yet to explain why smoking in personal vehicles, smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes have found their way into this policy.

The only reasonable explanation for these provisions is that the University is attempting to regulate the personal and moral decisions of students regardless of whether or not non-tobacco users are being affected. These substances and products are legal for all adults to purchase and use. The university and faculty have no right to regulate the moral and health related decisions of adults when those decisions are legal in the limits of the law. We cannot allow the University to set the precedent that regulating and systematically removing the personal freedoms of students is acceptable policy.

According to the Board of Trustees Statement on University Governance document, “Students will have primary responsibility for services and activities which are designed primarily to serve students or those which are financed primarily by students, managing student political affairs and organizational matters, and setting standards for student behavior, conduct, and discipline.”

The tobacco ban is undoubtedly a policy concerning the behavior, conduct and discipline of students, but was the Student Government Association consulted? No. Was the Graduate Student Senate consulted? No. Was there a referendum question on the spring election ballots to gauge student support for the “Tobacco-Free UMass Amherst” policy? No. Students were inarguably ignored throughout the entire process of drafting and passing this policy because they know students would absolutely detest the over-reaching, freedom-encroaching and overbroad nature of this policy.

This policy has given rise to many important questions. Why has the health council chosen to address tobacco use before attempting to address the much more severe health concerns on campus like drunk driving? Who are the faculty and the University to tell students what legal products or substances they can or cannot put in their own bodies while hiding behind the façade of reducing second-hand smoke? And, after admitting the impossibility of enforcing the tobacco ban, why wait until 2013 to implement it?

The answer to the last question is obvious enough. It is clear that the school knows the students oppose such an encroachment on their personal freedoms. By waiting until 2013, the UMass conceals the caustic nature of this issue from the public eye for two years, by which time half of the opposition will graduate and begin their post-collegiate lives.

The most reprehensible aspect of this policy, however, is how it is being misrepresented by its supporters as a smoking ban, rather than the egregious and intrusive ultimatum on morality, health and personal freedoms of students that it truly is.

Do not let the University win by subverting our opposition and silencing our voice. It is imperative that you write about it, organize protests and voice your displeasure. Voice your discontentment, not only with the policy itself, but for being disrespected and ignored by the university and faculty in the process through which this policy was created.

Nathan Lamb is a Senator for Student Government Association and Secretary of the UMass Republican Club.

View Comments (24)
More to Discover

Comments (24)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • W

    Www.Holysmokehams.ComDec 28, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    A morning session wondered if vaping was on brink of operating cigarettes off supermarket

  • A

    AnnaMay 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I can’t stand cigarettes but I still think this ban is stupid. Yeah, it sucks to have to walk through a cloud of smoke to get into the library or into Bartlett, but so what? You walk through it for maybe five seconds. Hold your breath or something; that’s what I do.

    And the thing that really makes me raise my eyebrows at this is the banning of e-cigs. They HELP people quit. They allow people to satisfy their cravings and needs without producing second hand smoke that all of you are complaining about.

    I think this ban is a bad idea. They can’t enforce it, and people are going to do what they want anyway. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t respect those who do. It’s not my business, and if I don’t want to smell it, I can go around it or hold my breath. End of story.

  • U

    UMass SeniorMay 2, 2011 at 3:40 am


  • H

    harleyrider1978Apr 15, 2011 at 11:14 am

    They have created a fear that is based on nothing’’
    World-renowned pulmonologist, president of the prestigious Research Institute Necker for the last decade, Professor Philippe Even, now retired, tells us that he’s convinced of the absence of harm from passive smoking. A shocking interview.

    What do the studies on passive smoking tell us?

    PHILIPPE EVEN. There are about a hundred studies on the issue. First surprise: 40% of them claim a total absence of harmful effects of passive smoking on health. The remaining 60% estimate that the cancer risk is multiplied by 0.02 for the most optimistic and by 0.15 for the more pessimistic … compared to a risk multiplied by 10 or 20 for active smoking! It is therefore negligible. Clearly, the harm is either nonexistent, or it is extremely low.

    It is an indisputable scientific fact. Anti-tobacco associations report 3 000-6 000 deaths per year in France …

    I am curious to know their sources. No study has ever produced such a result.

    Many experts argue that passive smoking is also responsible for cardiovascular disease and other asthma attacks. Not you?

    They don’t base it on any solid scientific evidence. Take the case of cardiovascular diseases: the four main causes are obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. To determine whether passive smoking is an aggravating factor, there should be a study on people who have none of these four symptoms. But this was never done. Regarding chronic bronchitis, although the role of active smoking is undeniable, that of passive smoking is yet to be proven. For asthma, it is indeed a contributing factor … but not greater than pollen!

    The purpose of the ban on smoking in public places, however, was to protect non-smokers. It was thus based on nothing?

    Absolutely nothing! The psychosis began with the publication of a report by the IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, which depends on the WHO (Editor’s note: World Health Organization). The report released in 2002 says it is now proven that passive smoking carries serious health risks, but without showing the evidence. Where are the data? What was the methodology? It’s everything but a scientific approach. It was creating fear that is not based on anything.

    Why would anti-tobacco organizations wave a threat that does not exist?

    The anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette prices having failed, they had to find a new way to lower the number of smokers. By waving the threat of passive smoking, they found a tool that really works: social pressure. In good faith, non-smokers felt in danger and started to stand up against smokers. As a result, passive smoking has become a public health problem, paving the way for the Evin Law and the decree banning smoking in public places. The cause may be good, but I do not think it is good to legislate on a lie. And the worst part is that it does not work: since the entry into force of the decree, cigarette sales are rising again.

    Why not speak up earlier?

    As a civil servant, dean of the largest medical faculty in France, I was held to confidentiality. If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man.

    Le Parisien Paris magazine

  • M

    MagneticApr 15, 2011 at 10:23 am

    The “Chapman Trick” is to erroneously associate trace levels of particular chemicals in tobacco smoke with industrial-type uses of the same chemicals that involve extraordinarily larger quantities of these chemicals. The only purpose of this trick is to deceive. It is intended to promote outrage or revulsion in, particularly, gullible nonsmokers at whom it’s directed. This trick has been used, ad nauseum, since the mid-1980’s because it is highly effective. It is highly effective because, like most antismoking propaganda, it is inflammatory and false: It outrages BECAUSE it is misleading. Its ONLY PURPOSE is to mislead, i.e., inflammatory propaganda.

    Just to be sure, the air we typically breathe has many of the same chemicals as in tobacco smoke, and more, and in higher concentrations.
    Again, these chemicals are typically at trace levels and are not problematic.
    If you do a google search, you’ll find similar chemicals in raw food and from cooking, and in drinking water.

  • M

    MagneticApr 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Here’s an example of inflammatory propaganda. I’m sure we’ve all seen this one.

    Look at what’s in a cigarette:
    Acetone (nail varnish remover), Ammonia (cleaning agent), Arsenic (ant poison in the USA), Benzene (petrol fumes), Cadmium (car battery fluid), DDT (insecticide), Ethanol (anti-freeze), Formaldehyde (embalming fluid), Hydrogen Cyanide (industrial pollutant), Lead (batteries, petrol fumes), Methanol (rocket fuel), Tar (road surface tar).

    It has been used incessantly over the last three decades. It would be difficult to find an antismoking manual, website, or event that doesn’t have some variant of the above. It has been used incessantly because it has been effective. It has been effective because it is deceptive. Most would have no idea where this originated. It is a TRICK suggested by Simon Chapman (an antismoker) at the Fifth World Conference on Smoking & Health (1983) while presenting his “manual of tactics” (see Godber Blueprint).
    “A glance through any copy of the Smoking and Health Bulletin of the U S Department of Health and Human Services shows an entire indexed, section on ‘Tobacco Product Additives’ . Citations are included from patent office registrations of new chemical applications to tobacco processing and from the specialist chemical literature. Both these sources are virtually unintelligible, let alone normally accessible to the average person but are rich in potential for anyone willing to translate them into news items with popular interest . Polysyllabic chemical names should be checked through a reference book that lists common usages and toxicological data for chemicals . Look for usages that will connote revulsion or concern . For example, well known chemicals found in tobacco include cadmium (as in car batteries), ammonia (as in toilet cleaners), cyanides, formaldehyde and so on ……” (p.15)

  • M

    MagneticApr 15, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Some background on how we got to this point.

    The first demand for a smoking ban was in the late 1980s concerning short-haul flights in the USA of less than 2 hours. At the time, the antismokers (e.g., Banzhaf) was asked if this was a “slippery slope”. He ridiculed anyone suggesting such because this ban was all that they were after.
    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted nonsmoking sections in restaurants, bars, etc., and ensuring that that was ALL they wanted.
    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted complete bans indoors. That was all they wanted. At the time, no-one was complaining about having to “endure” wisps of smoke outdoors.

    Having bulldozed their way into indoor bans, the antismokers then went to work on the outdoors.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans within ten feet of entranceways.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 20 feet of entrance ways.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans in outdoor dining areas.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire campuses and parks and beaches.

    At each point there was an insistence that there was no more while they were actually planning the next ban. There has been incessant lying and deception. Many medically-aligned groups have been committed to antismoking – their smokefree “utopia” – since the 1960s.

    I’m sure we can see a pattern here. The concocted SHS “danger” concerned a minute risk for lifelong exposure to SHS. 99.9% of those exposed to SHS over a lifetime have NO elevated risk of disease. Yet with the propaganda promoting the idea that SHS is bio-weapon-like, unlike anything else on earth, we now have some nonsmokers “running the gauntlet” of smokers at entranceways, hand cupped over mouth, terrified that they might inhale a whiff. This is the promotion of mental dysfunction (e.g., anxiety reactions, somatization). It is fully to be expected as a result of incessant inflammatory propaganda. And this is typically what happens when medicos go on their social-engineering, deranged ideological crusades. We just don’t learn.

  • M

    MagneticApr 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Contrary to the propaganda, there are benefits to smoking.

    A meta-analysis of a good number of recent studies demonstrates a very significant cognitive enhancement from nicotine. And this is just nicotine. There are other aspects of smoking that are beneficial, e.g., psychological, behavioral, perceptual.

    More detailed info here. It is a google translation. The translation is a little clumsy in parts, but the gist of the information is clear.

    The latest that smoking is a habit, not an addiction:
    Nicotine is not peculiar to tobacco. Small quantities of nicotine are in potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, tea. Nicotine is also a precursor of nicotinic acid, also known as niacin or vitamin B3.

  • M

    MagneticApr 15, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Antismoking is not new. It has a long, sordid – even murderous – history, much of it pre-dating even the pretense of a scientific basis or the idea of secondhand smoke “danger”. There was a major antismoking crusade in the USA in early-1900s USA.

    The current antismoking crusade continues the eugenics view of tobacco: Tobacco has no benefits and only detriments. Smoker denormalization/persecution, and indoor/outdoor smoking bans were planned in the 1970s (see The Godber Blueprint ), years before even the first study on secondhand smoke, under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO). The goal is not to ban the sale of tobacco, but to ban smoking/tobacco in just about every place that people would typically smoke.

  • M

    MagneticApr 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

    One of the main directives of the Godber/WHO Blueprint was to begin by banning smoking on the entire grounds of medical facilities and educational campuses. It was hoped that councils and governments would then follow suit. There are now a number of medical facilities and university campuses in the USA that have banned smoking/tobacco on the entire grounds. The constant calls for such bans come from the Public Health Departments of Medical Faculties who are the main spreaders of the inflammatory propaganda, pushing the ideological agenda. When they can’t justify the bans even with flimsy “science”, e.g., outdoor, they simply hope that enough brainwashing has occurred such that no-one will notice.

    It gets worse. Around the world there are now instances of those who smoke being denied employment, being denied housing, being denied medical treatment, being denied fostering. It is a bigotry bandwagon in motion. Why has it had to get to this point for only some to begin asking questions? How bad does it have to get? The build-up to this point has been going on for three decades.

    Only recently in Bhutan, a monk has been jailed for three years for not paying duty on less than three dollars of chewable tobacco.,8599,2057774,00.html

    Remember that most countries have signed onto the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The intent of TC is to eradicate tobacco use. The FCTC compels nations to introduce progressive bans. The USA is one of the few countries that has not signed onto the WHO FCTC. But it more than makes up by being the leader in producing the junk studies that advance the agenda and by introducing some of the more draconian bans.

  • B

    BonnieApr 15, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Umass Student, certainly you shouldn’t have to suffer. But the reason you suffer is because the 20ft regulation is not enforced. A compromise would include a provision that would allow smokers to smoke at designated areas around campus, far away from dorms and buildings. Unfortunately, the individuals supporting this motion do not see designated smoking areas as something worth investing in, and they believe any expenditure towards this is unwarranted. I’d suppose that a small appropriation would be sufficient to finance smoking areas/gazebos on campus.

  • U

    UMass StudentApr 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    There have been many times where I have asked a fellow student to step away from a building to smoke instead of smoking right at the door and they just ignore me. There are also a lot of students in the dorms who decide to smoke right underneath my window. I for one am happy that I will no longer have to suffer from unwanted second hand smoke. If you want to slowly kill yourself, that’s fine, but I shouldn’t have to suffer.

  • J

    JoeyApr 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Loved the article. Right on.

    Dave Kirk: Nowhere in the article did Mr Lamb say that he smoked cigarettes. Perhaps he’s a non-smoker who just thinks that the faculty should mind their own damned business. Funny that you think it’s the faculty Senate’s job to do everyone “a favor” and make them quit. They could also do everyone a favor and tell them that they can’t have any more pizza, wings, calzones, cookies, Chinese food, or ice cream delivered to the campus anymore. Those are unhealthy too. Except it’s none of their damned business.

    The one problem with this article is that Mr. Lamb generally conceeds the point that second hand smoke is harmful to others. That’s far from being conclusively proven. But other than that, you summed it up very well. This is not about being considerate of non-smokers. Non-smokers have nothing to complain about anyway. I attended UMass in recent years and I was never bothered by other people’s cigarette smoke. This is about harrassing smokers into quitting because it offends some people. Smokeless tobacco, smoking in your own car, even the e-cigarette? Not that I would support the ban if it didn’t include these things, but they give away the true intentions of the ban’s designers.

    By the way, I lived in the dorm for three years. I never once saw a faculty member in the dorm. And yet they have decided how students will live in those dorms.

    This is the overarching hand of tyranny. I would be so proud of UMass students if they told the anti-smoking nannies to go shove it.

  • M

    MichaelApr 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Good article, I have to admit though, I wish students cared as much when they created CMASS as they do about their cigarettes…

  • B

    Brandon T.Apr 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I get nervous when the University tells me that we’re smart enough to study here and pay the fees, but not smart enough to make decisions regarding our personal health.

  • J

    Julia HausmanApr 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I am a big supporter of the ban and a student at UMass. I understand how it seems prescriptive and controlling, but people are still allowed to smoke as much as they want- just not within the few blocks of campus. Furthermore, this ban will do wonders to prevent students from beginning smoking, which is really the easiest way to avoid dying of lung cancer, emphysema, or more. My grandpa currently has to roll an oxygen tank with him everywhere he goes and without a doubt his biggest regret is ever picking up his first cigarette. Why not make it easier for other people to avoid that mistake?

  • "

    "Voice of Reason"Apr 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Dear Dave Kirk,
    I personally do not smoke cigarettes but am strongly opposed to this policy. Smoking cigarettes isn’t illegal for people over the age of 18 (aka, the extreme majority of college students), why is it the school’s right to dictate what I legally can and cannot do with my body? For people who live on campus, UMass is their home, would you feel at home when something completely legal that you do on a regular basis was banned? Underage drinking is a MUCH bigger problem with students at UMass and there are plenty of policies put in place to stop this illegal action that is bad for your heath, yet people still do it regardless. How do you think people would respond to UMass becoming a dry campus, even for people who have the legal right to buy and consume alcohol? In fact, there’s even a bar on campus! Banning smoking on campus should be an absolute last resort. There have been so many suggestions that would decrease the amount of second hand smoke, smoking near buildings, and cigarette buds on the ground yet the Faculty Senate doesn’t seem to acknowledge other possible solutions to the problem before coming to this ridiculous end all be all policy. Lastly, I’m fairly certain that people who smoke cigarettes are fully aware of the health risks of their habit (and probably don’t appreciate you generalizing them as “ignorant”) but… this may come as a surprise to you, it’s THEIR CHOICE! Stop trying dictate how people live their lives!

  • B

    BobApr 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    E-cigs have no history of suicides or hallucinating, but they compete with Chantix, thereby undermining the entire purpose of smoking bans, the bottom line of Pfizer.

  • J

    Justin ThompsonApr 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    This move by the faculty senate reflects a dangerous trend in America: leftist elites telling you what is good for you.
    Guess what? My weekly cigar has outrageous mental health benefits; and without, I’d probably have higher blood-pressure, more stress, back pain, etc.
    Obama wants to make you buy healthcare, his wife wants to tell you what to eat… eventually we won’t have to think for ourselves anymore and we’ll just be told what options are available.
    Since this ban is on ALL tobacco products, its obvious the faculty senate is trying to control your behavior- which is a serious over-step and should be challenged in court.
    Finally, 50,000 people did not die last year from second hand smoke outside of academic buildings, the died from parents who smoke like a chimney inside their own home.
    The social trend is towards fewer people smoking anyways, why must we try to engineer society?

  • R

    RonApr 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Electronic cigarettes banned also? Really? Sounds like Big Government and Tobacco company interests to me. Electronic cigarettes are helping people quit real tobacco. Nicotine isn’t what kills people it’s the tar/chemicals and tobacco. Yes nicotine is addictive, so is coffee and junk food. Where is the ban on that?
    Let the students decide what they want to do…typical Big Brother telling us what to do.

  • S

    Smoking BlowsApr 14, 2011 at 11:26 am

    You almost sound like a smoker or someone who works for the tobacco industry.

  • E

    EyewitnessApr 14, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Hey Dave…if the faculty senate had limited themselves to banning smoking, then your contention about the second hand effects might be valid. They did not.

    If the faculty senate had limited their ban to all tobacoo products, then perhaps your worries over the overall health of the campus population would hold more weight. They did not.

    As noted in the column, the faculty senate included e-cigarettes in their ban, which invalidates all of their justifications for the policy on the basis of health. E-Cigs contain no tobacco and emit no smoke, and are one of the best ways people are finding to actually quit smoking. The the faculty senators dismiss this fact by claming that there will be ample opportunity in the implementation process to exempt e-cigs from the enforcement of the ban, but that excuse is too little too late. The proof of their motives is in the pudding, in this case the wording of the ban, and no defense of their action can erase that.

  • M

    Martin KerrisonApr 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Well said! Superb article.

  • D

    Dave KirkApr 14, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Maybe you all should consider quitting what with all the health benefits from it. If anything, they’re doing you a favour.

    Bottom line: Smoking is bad for your health, the health of those around you, and, in years to come, you’ll inevitably take up a hospital bed that somebody with a real disease, not brought on by their own ignorance, could use.


    The Voice of Reason