Miami University's Smoke-Free Policy Is Not Being Enforced

Miami University Can't Just Claim To Be Tobacco-Free, It Must Enforce It

Don't lie to the public anymore.

"Smoking and tobacco use are prohibited in all Miami University-owned facilities and on the grounds of any University-owned property. This includes all buildings owned or controlled by Miami University, shelters, indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, indoor and outdoor theatres, bridges, walkways, sidewalks, residence halls, parking lots, and street parking and garages controlled by the University (will include inside personal vehicles parked on University property as of January 1, 2014). Smoking and tobacco use are prohibited on sidewalks that adjoin University property. Smoking and tobacco use are also prohibited in any vehicle or equipment owned, leased, or operated by Miami University." — Miami University Smoke-Free Policy

When I found out that my top choice for a University was tobacco-free, I was incredibly ecstatic. You see, my mom has COPD and a ton of other breathing problems due to cigarettes. For that reason and many others, I have a horrible outlook on cigarettes.

Additionally, though, campus being tobacco-free meant I wouldn't have to deal with trying to avoid having friends who smoke. It meant my mom could come and visit me without almost passing out at the smell of smoke. It meant I didn't need to rewash my clothes before I went home so my mom couldn't smell the faint smell of smoke wafting up the stairs into the kitchen.

Since stepping on campus, though, I realized that this is tobacco-free policy is highly underenforced.

Almost every day I walk to class, I see at least one or two people smoking on the sidewalk, obstructing my smoke-free passage. I see people smoking behind or in front of my dorm, just along the road, and even just outside the library. I know that if my mom were to walk that way, she'd be already out of breath and then have to hold her breath to avoid the strong smell of smoke.

But a tobacco-free campus isn't just for people like my mom it's for people like my boyfriend, who has asthma and coughs and hacks every time we pass by a smoker. It's for children who are exposed to second-hand smoke way more often than should be legal. It's for you and me, people who are not addicted to tobacco and hopefully will never be, because it's just not cool anymore.

Sadly, not only are people smoking cigarettes outside, they're vaping inside.

At Miami, it's usually in the form of a Juul. Not only have I seen this happen outside, but I have watched students walk into buildings, take a quick puff, and put it away. My friends have even watched people do it in large lecture halls.

Still, I can't recall hearing one instance of someone being punished for smoking on campus, despite the fact that I, only one student out of 18,000, see it happen multiple times a week.

Miami, maybe you have more important things to do, but if this is not on your priority list, you cannot claim it.

Stop lying to incoming students and falsely promising them that they will not be affected by tobacco on this campus. They will see it, smell it, and experience it. It's a very real concern for some people who have lost their freedom due to cigarettes.

If you will not enforce your tobacco-free policy, you cannot claim it.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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