U should consider going smoke free

By By Sabriel Harris

By Sabriel Harris

Generations X, Y and Z have grown up in a world with much less nicotine than their parents and grandparents. Campaigns such as The Truth and the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act are reaching children while they are still in elementary school, fighting hard to ensure a cleaner, brighter, less substance-dependent future.

Utah has upped the ante in many ways. The ban on smoking inside bars and clubs should decrease the number of habitual smokers in the younger generation. Universities such as Weber State and Brigham Young are contemplating banning or already have banned smoking on campus.

The U prides itself on being a more liberal, open school, but that does not mean smoking is any less dangerous or should be allowed on campus. Granted, there is the 25-foot rule limiting smoking in front of buildings, but it’s not regulated or enforced with any kind of consistency. Take the hospital for instance. At any given time, there are at least a couple of people lounging in front of the large, bold “no smoking” sign, taking a drag on their cigarettes.

Even though the younger generations have grown up in the anti-smoking age, smoking is still widespread and one of the highest causes of preventable death in Utah, with an average of 1,100 Utahns dying annually from smoke-related illnesses, according to a 2005 report by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Many of today’s addicts started smoking before the age of 16, and as a result, were more susceptible to nicotine dependency. After only two copies of the variance at such a young age, it triggers a lifelong craving.

College-age smokers most likely started in high school or earlier, but if the U can ban smoking from the its campus, perhaps we can decrease the number people with of nicotine dependency in younger generations. Smoking used to be a sign of wealth and class. Today, it is viewed much more negatively. It would be naive to keep nursing an addiction when we are so aware of the damage it causes to the human body.

We’ve already seen results from the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act and The Truth campaign. It is inevitable that a smoking ban on campus would produce positive results. With all of the other influences in a young person’s life, smoking should not be an option.

[email protected]