Editorial: Ban on tobacco should go up in smoke

UTSA’s smoking policy is slated for change. The University recently moved forward in supporting a tobacco-free and smoke-free campus.
The proposed policy explains beginning June 1, 2013 smokers will be allowed only on surface parking lots excluding, Ximenes Avenue lot, Ford Avenue lot, Laurel Village lot as well as the parking lots around Monterey Building at the Downtown campus. This policy begins a one year transition to a smoke-free campus.
The UTSA campus will be completely tobacco-free and smoke-free on June 1, 2014.
The Paisano argued on Sep. 4, 2012 that President Romo’s task force needed to consider a compromise when crafting a policy to create a tobacco-free campus.

This is no compromise.

A survey by the American College of Health Association in Spring 2010 reported that of the 34, 208 students surveyed from 146 post-secondary institutions, 16 percent of undergraduate students had smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days from the time the survey was performed.
If these statistics are still accurate, of the 30,474 students who enrolled in the fall of 2012, 4,876 students smoke. This number does not even include tobacco use among faculty, staff, or post undergraduate students.
The university is invested in creating a healthy and safe environment for its students, faculty and staff, but the university consists of adults who have the right to make their own decisions about their body. The university does not have that right.
Smokers know that smoking tobacco, regardless of its form, is unhealthy.
But prohibiting the use of tobacco on campus not only infringes on the rights of smokers, but also has practical disadvantages. For example, will campus police have enough offices to enforce the policy? How will the university punish offenders?
Students and staff who want to smoke during their time on campus can’t unless the university creates designated smoking areas that are a safe distance from nonsmokers—a clear compromise.