I wake up, it's 10:00 am on a Monday morning, and I am eager for the week ahead. I peer out my window to see the sun shining and I cannot wait to go outside and walk through the beautiful campus on my way to class. After I get ready for the day, I head down the steps and out the doors of Allegheny Hall. I am feeling great about the day ahead but suddenly, it hits me—literally. There I am on that sunny Monday, unfortunately immersed in a thick cloud of smoke. West Chester students gathered around, puffing on their cigarettes, and taking advantage of the ashtrays that are placed directly outside the residence hall.
As I continue on my way to class, I pass more designated smoking areas where people cluster by the ashtrays. Even as I go to grab lunch and dinner later at the Lawrence Dining Hall, I am continuously presented with smokers outside of the entryway.
The majority of the students here at West Chester do not smoke, therefore I often wonder why those who make the healthy choice to abstain, are so frequently subjected to odor of second-hand smoke.
I am aware that smoking cigarettes is highly addictive and many who try to quit often struggle to succeed. So with that said, I am not as quick to point fingers at those who smoke, but to those who ALLOW the opportunity to do so all over the West Chester University's Campus. I also understand that West Chester University is a public facility filled with adults who should be able to make their own decisions. But, those decisions can easily be made off campus on your own time. West Chester is a place of higher education and I see no positives in allowing something so detrimental, to be allowed on school property, whether it is legal or not. With that being said, I believe smoking should be prohibited from campus altogether.
At the very least, I believe that the University should lessen the number of designated smoking areas around the campus. Given the overwhelming evidence available on the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes, the school should be more accommodating for the larger population of people who don’t smoke. Most of those who choose to smoke are not trying to harm others and in general should be willing to endure some minor inconvenience for the benefit of the greater good. And who knows, maybe this slight inconvenience will influence some of the smokers on West Chester's campus to quit such a dangerous habit.