Buying Cigarettes
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Smoke-free policy on campus is outrageous

With a new school year underway, we have a new policy on campus affecting many students. The Oregon State University Smoke-Free Policy bans smoking on campus. I've never smoked a cigarette in my life, and don't plan to, but this new policy is outrageous.

First, OSU is a public university, and therefore should never enact a policy, rule, etc., restricting anyone's freedom. By saying students can't smoke on campus, our freedom to do as we wish has been taken away.

Second, making a rule in an effort to stop a certain behavior doesn't work. To genuinely think a rule will stop people is childish. If rules had such an impact on our behavior, why don't we ban unemployment so the economy will thrive?

In years past, smokers, by law, had to stand 20 feet from the door, but routinely smoked not even 20 inches from it. The law doesn't stop anyone.

The reason the ban doesn't stop people from smoking is because tobacco has inelastic demand. Inelastic demand means there are no substitutes and the consumer will pay almost any price, assuming the consumer has the money to pay a high price, for the product.

Tobacco, a highly addictive product, has no substitute for its users, so they continue to consume it. The school could make a rule saying no food on campus, but we would all still eat because we need to - just like smokers need to smoke.

Third, a smoke-free campus doesn't mean there won't be any smoke on campus. Students, instead of smoking on campus, simply walk to Monroe Avenue or Western Boulevard to smoke. Coupled with this is a crazy thing called wind. Wind can easily blow smoke onto the campus and bring us back to square one.

The government's Center for Disease Control posts online that 443,000 people die annually from smoking in the U.S. The government also posts online that there are over 314 million people in the U.S. Is this really a huge issue? Approximately 450,000 people out of 314 million is .0014 percent of the population. Not even 1 percent, not even half a percent, not even a quarter of a percent of people in the U.S. die from smoking annually, according to the government.

So why does OSU implement a policy that tackles such a minor issue? Well, mainly because OSU is a government-run entity, and like the government, it pushes agendas to take away our freedoms. What policy does any government or government institution put in place to help us? None.

Every time a new policy becomes rule, law, etc., our freedoms are cut. I don't smoke cigarettes, but I want anyone who does to have the right to smoke on campus, in the buildings, and in their rooms.

I'm not saying we all should smoke, but we all should be able to smoke where we want, especially on a public campus. I even have a proposal to improve the "smoking problem" on campus. Let people smoke wherever they want.

Since smoking is not a problem for anyone, just an action that upsets those who don't partake, let's allow everyone to smoke any place they please. If you don't like smoke or smokers, don't go near them, don't talk to them, don't befriend them, etc.

If you don't bother smokers, they won't bother you. Smokers don't chase non-smokers down and blow smoke in their face to annoy them. Smokers all stand together and blow smoke at each other.

The new smoke-free campus initiative is outrageous. If the school really is concerned with our health, we should all get free food, classes, housing, etc., so we aren't stressed about paying bills and won't be stressed about paying back loans. Instead, the university focuses on an irrelevant issue and pushes an agenda that actually hurts the students. Instead of reinstating smoking on campus, we need to reinstate freedom.

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012

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