Tobacco-Free UMass: It’s about time

By Ali Strand

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As many of you know, the UMass Amherst campus will completely ban the use of tobacco starting July 1, 2013.There’s a clear divide as to who the supporters are and those who are against it. As for myself, I have to say that it’s about time. While I understand that smoking cigarettes is an addiction, I have to wonder why anyone would start. If you’re stressed out, I wouldn’t think that putting your body’s current and future health in danger is the way to relieve it. Go for a walk, take a yoga class, meditate, listen to music, ride a bike, go to the gym, write a blog, tweet about it; and those are just the first things that come to mind, the list goes on and on.

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Don’t get me wrong; it’s not up to me to make life choices for the population. If you really feel the need to risk your health, that’s completely on your shoulders. What I have an issue with is when your (what I consider) poor, life choices begin to effect my health. If you couldn’t already tell, I personally am not a fan of cigarettes. The smell and the smoke are just not for me. But when I’m walking to class, and suddenly a puff of chemicals comes right into my face, I get a little upset. I’m sorry that you have an addiction, but your addiction is neither my fault nor my choice, so why is it fair that I’m paying for it second hand? It’s not just me, I’m sure the entire non-smoking majority of campus also becomes irritated when they unwillingly breathe in secondhand smoke. Let’s try to be a little more considerate, shall we? Sorry to resort to middle school tactics here, but smoking doesn’t make you cool or more popular; it does however, put your health and the health of others in danger. So while it may not be your favorite decision for the school to go smoke free, in the end, it’s more beneficial for the overall safety and health of everyone on campus. It really is about time.

**As a side note, I am aware that smoking is an addiction and for those students who are trying to quit UMass is willing to help. For more details check out www.umass.edu/uhs/services/tobacco/

Ali Strand can be reached at [email protected]