Lack of enforcement pushes Tulane’s tobacco policy to extreme

Jack Newell, Staff Reporter

The following is an opinion article and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Tulane’s former tobacco policy, which designated specific areas where students could smoke, was a better compromise between smokers and non-smokers than the current tobacco-free campus policy. The previous policy failed only because the university rarely enforced it. Tulane’s ban on the use of all tobacco products on campus, which took effect on Aug.1, inconveniences tobacco users and does no more to limit exposure to secondhand smoke than simply enforcing the former policy. 

Director of Student Health Scott Tims said this policy is not meant to punish tobacco users, but it seems to do just that. Students do not need the added stress of leaving campus every time they want a cigarette. Even though going off campus is not that far of a walk, it is still an inconvenience for many. It is true that forcing people to leave campus every time they want to light up will reduce smoking, and therefore lead to better health overall. Simply enforcing existing smoking areas, however, could have accomplished the same goal.

One positive highlight in implementing the ban is that students, especially those with respiratory problems, will no longer face exposure to secondhand smoke. Tims said that many students with asthma have offered their thanks for the new policy. Students should not have to walk behind a smoker on their way to class, but simply enforcing smoking areas would accomplish the same goal.

While smoking should be limited on campus, banning it completely was extreme. The previous policy was not at all effective, because it lacked real regulation. As a result, students all over campus were subjected to secondhand smoke. While limiting smoking is a fair way to protect the health of all nonsmokers, actually monitoring smoking areas is a better decision than a full ban.

Jack Newell is a sophomore in the Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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