Mercyhurst campus would benefit from being smoke free

Caitlyn Lear, Staff writer

We all know the downfalls of smoking and how it affects our health.  Between asthma and lung cancer, the health outcomes can be pretty severe.  Yet there are many people on campus who continue to smoke anyway.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2013, 212,584 people were diagnosed with lung cancer and 156,176 died from the disease.  The CDC also states that in Pennsylvania the death rate due to lung cancer is 45.1 per 100,000 cases.

I smoke from time to time.  My ex-boyfriend got me into smoking, and I have tried many times to quit.  I can go for months without smoking and then one stressful week will send me spiraling back.  Sometimes it is the only thing that can calm me down and it is a common form of stress relief for many people.

I know I should stop, but it really is addicting and I know that I am not as addicted as others who need to smoke every couple of hours in order to go about their day.  So when I hear that the campus may become smoke free, I am all for it.

Having a smoke free campus will be one less opportunity for me to smoke.  I do not smoke around my friends because very few of them smoke, and seeing as how I spend 90 percent of my time on campus, I would not have the time to smoke.

For those who do not smoke, this may also come as a relief.  Some of my friends do not like walking through clouds of cigarette smoke as they leave the buildings around campus.  Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as smoking the cigarette yourself.

There may be designated smoke areas, but those on campus can smoke while walking between classes.  They only have to be 20 feet away from the nearest building.  And during the winter, we all know that people stand closer to the buildings to try and stay out the wind and snow.

The fact that students and faculty smoke by the doors is also a result of the placement of the cigarette butt disposal boxes.  Other college campuses have waste receptacles for cigarette butts 20 to 30 feet away from the door, whereas here, the receptacles are usually right next to the door

Plus, cigarette butts do not always make it to the designated waste areas.  If you look at the picnic table next to the Grotto Commons for example, the ground is littered with cigarette butts.  Not only are people smoking and polluting the air, they are also littering the ground with their trash.

Personally, I think making campus smoke free is a great idea.  It gives that extra push for me to quit.  It keeps campus clean and protects those who do not smoke from having to deal with the secondhand effects in a place where most students spend a majority of their time.