Students who create clouds of smoke on campus should not only feel responsible for diminishing the health of others, but also feel guilty for breaking the smoking-free and tobacco-free campus policies established at Palomar since 2015.
Palomar’s policy states,”The District shall provide and maintain a workplace and learning environment that is smoke and tobacco-free to promote the safety and health of students, employees and the public. Smoking, vaping, and the use of tobacco products are prohibited on all indoor and outdoor property,” yet the campus still faces a daily struggle with enforcing these policies as students chose to continuously break them.
It also seems as if students whom do smoke on campus are deliberately breaking this policy. “I don’t really see persons smoking on campus. But when I do it’s at this little corner on campus that has a no-smoking sign,” Eric Lopez, a student at Palomar, said.
Not only do these “campus smokers” break policies, but they also jeopardize the health of students and staff around them. The American Lung Association states, “Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.” When something is considered carcinogenic, it means that substance has been known to cause cancer through different active agents in the ingredients.
Along with releasing these carcinogenic chemicals in the air through second hand smoke, smokers on campus can also cause heart attacks; even relatively brief exposure can trigger a heart failure, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine. Surly no one wants to be held responsible for causing something so severe, so the only solution is to follow campus policy.
One may say this is a reason as to why these policies were established in the first place, to prevent future health issues and ensure the well-being of students. In addition, recognizing everyone has the right to feel safe on campus, and that includes pollutants in the air.
Daryl Legaspi, a second-semester nursing student on campus, along with his anonymous colleagues, express that when students smoke on campus it affects their ability to breathe, especially when they have allergies that already affect their breathing daily.
In contrast, people who do smoke may question why they don’t have a right to smoke on campus, because in some cases people need it. Many college students with anxiety and other emotional issues related to it need smoking as a coping mechanism. “Brain scans have revealed that nicotine does indeed have a calming effect, something smokers have claimed for years“, Kristina Fiore, a staff writer at MedPage Today, said.
Although it may be true that smoking helps people deal with emotions like anxiety, regulations on where you can smoke are created for a reason. The negative affects outweigh the positive effects. This is why there is an age limit to buy cigarettes and other things you smoke, like vapes, as well as why doctors advise pregnant women to quit smoking if they are a smoker.
Palomar’s smokers should not in power to decide how someone’s air quality is effected. Keep your clouds off campus.