The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

2024 Commencement Student Speaker: Lea Tarzy
Alexandra Slofkiss: 2024 Commencement Soloist
Outstanding Senior Award: Bernadette Maramis
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Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Gloria Sporea

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Excellence in Athletics Award: Meghan Quinn

Excellence in Athletics Award: Meghan Quinn

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Excellence in the Arts Award: Joselyn Busato

Excellence in the Arts Award: Joselyn Busato

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The “Ban on Smoking” should be banned.

On March 28th, Bucknell approved a new policy, pending enactment until August 1st, that will ban smoking and tobacco use on campus as an attempt to improve the health and wellness of both staff and students. I’d first like to assert that in no way am I endorsing the notion that smoke and tobacco use is healthy. I understand the dangers associated with smoking, and am in no way advocating for it; however, I feel this initiative is not the proper way to reduce rates of smoking on campus. Additionally, I argue that this ban is an infringement upon one’s rights. Given that PA state law asserts that anyone twenty-one years or older can legally purchase tobacco/nicotine products, I think those who are legally of age to smoke should have the freedom to decide if they choose to or not.

Upon reading Bucknell’s statement, one line stuck out to me in particular: “Bucknell is a community that cares for the greater good and one another. We trust that Bucknellians will recognize the value of a smoke- and tobacco -free campus…” My interpretation of this line is that Bucknell will increase in value if we reduce smoking. But, I feel that even if a student or staff member smokes, we are all equally valuable assets to this school. What they fail to see is that people who smoke can be high achieving too and are equally as impactful to our institution’s growth. I’m not any less of a student or person because I choose to smoke. I’d like to unpack this further by asserting that smoking is a personal choice. If you don’t want to hit a vape or smoke a cigarette, then simply don’t do it. No one is forcing you! But that should be a choice made by the individual themselves, not dictated by the University. The statement even went as far as to ban “zyns”, which are nicotine pouches. Many of my friends have triumphantly quit smoking due to the use of zyns, so, why are we banning a resource that is commonly utilized for assistance in quitting smoking?

To advance my analysis, I decided to ask some members of Bucknell Dining what their opinions are on the smoke ban. Based on the conversations I had, I gained insight that this policy will complicate break periods, as workers will now have to walk to their vehicles to smoke and not quickly outside. Moreover, I feel that balancing the stress of working at Bucknell in addition to nicotine withdrawals will be challenging. A pragmatic solution to these issues presented would be to establish a designated smoke area(s), with proper outdoor ashtrays and trash cans, to properly dispose of nicotine/tobacco products.

Furthermore, based on conversations with international students, this ban will cause detrimental effects for them. Students coming from other countries are often legally allowed to smoke back at home so they’ve had room to develop a reliance on nicotine products. No longer allowing these students to smoke is inconsiderate to the existing cultural norms and habits of international students. What our school fails to understand is that smoking is a habit sustained in many other countries, some of which our students come from. Hence, it’s quite a drastic change for these students to adjust to.

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I understand our university wants to inspire students and faculty to quit smoking. However, I believe a more viable approach the administration should take is increasing accessibility to resources available on campus that smokers can use in their pursuit to quit. I asked three of my friends if they were aware of Student Health’s already existing “Nicotine Quit Kits” and not one of them knew there was such a thing they could request.

These respondents also stated that if they were to see these kits available in public campus locations, they’d be more inclined to grab one for themselves. Thus, I think it’d be a valuable approach for our school to increase accessibility to quitting tools as means to inspire staff and students to make the choice to quit for themselves, not to force it. To address the sustainability pillar of the initiative, I believe that creating spaces on campus designated for smoking, equipped with outdoor ashtrays, along with increasing the amount of trashcans outside, can make a significant difference in decreasing nicotine/tobacco waste.

Students and staff face significant costs to be apart of this institution: financial constraints, depreciated mental health due to stress, etc. Long story short, as someone who has already sacrificed so much to be a student here, all I ask is that I can smoke in peace. I would like to conclude by making the suggestion that Bucknell should take a moment to identify the root causes/triggers to smoke and what inhibits one’s ability to quit: stress. And do you want to know what stresses me out? Our university rapidly raising tuition.

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  • A

    Abigail O'NeillApr 12, 2024 at 8:37 pm

    Here’s a point that you have overlooked: no one has the “right” to poison another’s air – and that is what smoking in public does: it releases a proven carcinogen into the air that everyone in the vicinity of the smoker then breathes. There is no safe level of secondhand nor even the thirdhand smoke that remains on the smoker’s body and clothes. When you smoke outside on campus, you force everyone around you to smoke whether they want to or not – and even if they “don’t mind it” as some folks might aver, they are still harmed by it. A no-smoking policy means that everyone can move about in a public space in a safe, healthful manner as we all deserve to do. That is the fundamental right that is at stake.

    Reply
    • J

      John JonesApr 16, 2024 at 9:21 pm

      You could wear a mask to feel more safe.

      Reply