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Ban smoking on college campuses

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 Oh no! Suddenly your lungs have been blackened and your immune system tries to expel the toxins, forcing you to cough. You failed to notice that the fellow student in front of you is holding a cigarette. Better luck next time.

If the University of Houston wishes to maintain its Tier One status, it must join the other 500 universities in our nation by establishing a smoke free campus.

The current policy merely of prohibiting smoking within a 25-foot radius from any entrance has proven itself impractical and ineffective.

Are police expected to patrol the premises with measuring tape to discover those who may have forgotten that they were standing too closely to the building? Aren’t ashtrays conveniently located just 5 feet from entrances? Let’s be realistic. Laws limiting smoking will never effectively address this issue as would completely eliminating it.

The U.S. Surgeon General, the nation’s leading spokesperson on public health, has continuously reported that there is absolutely no level of safe exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS).

SHS has been classified as a “known human carcinogen” by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization. It contains a minimum of 172 toxic substances, including three regulated outdoor air pollutants, 33 hazardous air pollutants, 47 chemicals restricted as hazardous waste and 67 known carcinogens.

Every day we make an effort to limit our exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays by wearing protective clothing and sun block. When we have our x-rays taken, we wear protective lead jackets to prevent the radiation from permeating our bodies.

If we express such ardent concern when our health is endangered in these situations, then why don’t we make the same effort to protect ourselves from carcinogenic SHS?

Oddly, the large majority of nonsmokers feel as if smokers posses the unalienable right to smoke wherever they wish regardless of the fact they are indirectly jeopardizing the health of their fellow students, faculty and staff.  Each time we inhale the toxic substances consisting of but not limited to rat poisons, pesticides and carbon monoxide, the heart suffers immediate harmful effects and the risk of lung cancer increases.

Many willing to submit themselves to hazardous consequences, have suggested designated smoking areas. This resolution will only concentrate the toxic substances.

Eradicating an environment that permits smoking will assist those battling nicotine addictions and will inevitably improve their health. Another perk includes the reduction of exposing their loved ones to the poisons, as SHS exposure can cause ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma in children.  They could even save the thousands of dollars each year normally spent on cigarettes, alleviating the amount of loans needed for tuition and fees at the university. Furthermore, we would be advancing the agenda of GreenUH. Let’s do this the easy way and make UH smoke free. It’s time that we exercise our right to life.

Let’s prove that we genuinely care for the well-being of our faculty, students, staff and environment.

By: Josie Cesar



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