The new tobacco policy goes too far

The new tobacco policy goes too far

Editorial Board

Excessive. That’s what the Board of Regents’ new smoking policy is. It goes too far and is ridiculous.

Yes, it is noble that the Regents want to promote health, but it should not be at the expense of tobacco users’ rights.

Last month the Board of Regents passed a policy which will not allow the use of any forms of tobacco or e-cigarettes on any property used by colleges in the University System of Georgia beginning Oct. 1. What the Board is essentially doing is banishing tobacco users from college.

It is perfectly understandable that smoking and nonsmoking be separated in enclosed areas, and smoking is currently allowed in personal vehicles at GHC where it does not affect others.

People in college are adults and should be treated as such. Tobacco users know the effects of their actions and the results of tobacco use. It should not be decided by a board acting as the old patriarch dictating what can and can’t be done in people’s personal lives. But this is part of a larger conversation of “what” can be banned by “whom,” comparable to the banning of extra-large fountain drinks in New York City.

The policy is meant to “preserve and improve the health” of people present on college campuses. There is no denying the negative effects of smoking and smokeless-tobacco, but there is a fine line between being protective and being invasive.

The Board must face certain facts. The ban is not realistic; people will do as they please if they see it as necessary regardless of the rules. More importantly it is hindering tobacco users’ rights. We say we don’t discriminate, but this policy is full of discrimination.

The current policy does limit some privileges of tobacco users but does not discriminate on the level the new policy does.

While the policy protects those who don’t use tobacco, it hinders the rights of tobacco users. Instead of a system-wide ban on all college campuses, it would be more practical and realistic to leave the policy as is. Those who feel the need to use tobacco can as long as they are in their cars. This allows for individuals who don’t use tobacco to remain unaffected and at the same time allow tobacco users to exercise their rights.