Persuasion Essay: Smokefree-Campus Policy


We’ve all been there- stuck behind a smoker walking to class. You breath in the smoke, it gets caught in your hair, and you can still smell it later. But these things are trivial compared to the harmful effects smoking can have on all of those involved. Colleges and Universities across the country are implementing smokefree-campus policies. In these policies, indoor and outdoor smoking will be eliminated across the entire campus. As of January 2, 2013, at least 1,129 college or university campuses in the U.S. have adopted 100% smokefree campus policies. Penn State should impliment a similar policy for the health and safety of nonsmokers as well as smokers themselves, in addition to improving the school and campus.

Why? –Persuasion

  • For the smokers
    • Risk of tobacco use peaks between 18-25 years of age- college years. If can’t smoke on campus, will most likely not pick up a cigarette in the first place
    • The number of smokers who initiate smoking after 18 has increased in the past years
    • Progression from occasional to daily smoking almost always occurs by age 26. Stop smoking before it becomes a daily habit.
    • Convenience- If smokers have to go out of their way, all the way off campus, to smoke, most probably will be less inclined to do it.
    • May be that extra push someone needs to finally quit
    • According to Gallup, 79% of smokers which they could quit
    • 59% of student smokers said they tried to quit in the last year
    • Would be doing them more of a favor
  • For those surrounding them
    • In 2010, there were more than 20 million students enrolled in degree-granting institutions. Plus faculty, staff, and visitors. All are affected.
    • Air contamination à health effects
    • Secondhand smoke
    • More than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer.
    • Secondhand smoke exposure causes an estimated 3,400 lung cancer deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States.
    • Second hand smoke can lead to birth defects
    • There is no risk-free second hand smoke. The littlest bit is still harmful
      • 4/5 students don’t smoke, they shouldn’t be exposed to it.
  • Why not?
    • Why not do it if you can? If you have the ability to improve the quality of living, why not take the opportunity?
    •  If we all know how bad smoking and secondhand smoke are for one’s health, why wouldn’t the school do something about it?
    • 2/3 of students report that they would prefer to attend a smokefree college
    • ¾ (including a majority of smokers) say it is okay for colleges to prohibit smoking on campus to keep secondhand smoke away from students and staff
  • Safety
    • Fire hazard
  • Policies
    • 48.6% of the US population is protected by a 100% smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar law. Others are protected by workplace and restaurant- like PA.
    • A college is a workplace for the faculty as well as a learning environment
    • Many consider “student” and occupation- is it our workplace too?
  • Time/money
    • Time and money are spent on picking up cigarette butts and cleaning smoking areas
    • Many colleges with non-smoking policies have seen enrollment increase, and more community involvement with facilities
    • 69% of students said they’d choose a smokefree college over one that allowed smoking
    • No more complaints about smoking on campus
    • Legal liability for secondhand smoke
  • Quotes
    • “Since becoming tobacco-free, our enrollment has increased and there has been a strong demand in the community to use our facilities. Our transition to a tobacco-free campus was a positive experience—one that we’ve been proud to share with other colleges across the country.”Robert K.Knight,President,Clark College
    • “In addition to representing students, I’m also a parent. Like many other parents, if given the choice, I would like to send my child to a college that provides a tobacco-free campus, and now we have that option.” Victoria Galanopoulos, student, Portland Community College
    • “OHSU is committed to helping our employees, students, patients, volunteers and visitors live longer and healthier lives—that’s why all OHSU properties are tobacco-free. By developing a simple, no-exceptions policy and smoking cessation support, we saw a dramatic decline in people smoking on campus.” Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., President Oregon Health & Science University
    • “The debate is over. The science is clear: secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard.”  U.S. SurgeonGeneral Richard Carmona,2006

But how would you enforce it?

  • Most schools offer three strike systems, or something similar
  • Especially in early months after implementation, volunteers can simply walk up to smokers and ask them to put out there cigarettes, and educate them about the resources for quitting that are available to them.
  • Sample policies I’ve found are in steps
    • 1. Warning
    • 2. A fine (usually $15-$20) OR 2 hours of cleaning up tobacco litter
    • 3. Probation which eventually could lead to much harsher consequences (some schools even include expulsion)
    • Aware that not going to catch somebody every time they smoke, but the policy and the threat of punishment are still there, and if they continue to smoke, eventually will be caught.
    • The majority of the time, people choose to obey rules that are in place.
    • Offer resources for quitting. Some schools offer coupons for cheap nicotine replacements like patches or gum.
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