‘Talk’ debates smoking ban
By Olivia Obineme
Published: Sunday, February 21, 2010
The week of snow allowed students and faculty to cool down, but the first New York Times Talk Lunch of the semester began noon last Wednesday with the heated conversations of the University’s smoking ban.
Dowell Health Center Health Promotion and Education Services coordinator Kate Reeder hosted the discussion and shared three related articles, which touched on how smoking bans have improved the health of cities, how people are trying to stop others from smoking in apartment complexes and how two hospitals want to go further than their private grounds into the public with the ban.
For the University, the smoking ban has already been decided and will be in effect Aug. 1, 2010. According to the University’s Web site, the ban will “designate all property owned and operated by Towson University as smoke-free.”
Many of those who attended the talk had mixed feelings with the University and its decision to rid the entire campus of smoking and questioned the legal right of having the choice to smoke.
“I think Towson is forcing smokers and putting them in a predicament they don’t have to be in,” biology graduate student Stephanie Koontz said.
Koontz, a non-smoker, said she believed there should be designated areas for smokers instead, so students and faculty smokers do not have to go far away from campus to smoke.
Nevertheless, Reeder said that many people do not understand the University’s reasoning behind this ban.
“There is a misconception here. It is not a ban to tell smokers that they have to quit,” Reeder said. “We are getting on board with environmental factors and providing cleaner air on campus.”
Reeder also added that the University sees that there is a trend with businesses going smoke free and believed it is part of a culture shift.
“It started with bars and restaurants going smoke free and it is something that people are starting to accept,” she said.
Reeder and the University know that accepting the ban will take some time, but hope it will not take more than a couple months.
“We are not forcing any of the smokers. They have a choice to quit and we have free services and programs to help them if they want to quit,” Reeder said.
Although there were many who disliked the decision the University has made, others at the discussion, like secondary education professor Jeff Passe said people will just have to deal with it.
“All kinds of policies are set in this country, so this is just another one that I agree with,” Passe said.
The next NYT Talk is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9.
Story: Courtesy of The Towerlight