Thursday, January 08, 2009

Complete College Campus Smoking Ban Leading to Problems in Adjacent Neighborhoods

According to the Gazette (Montgomery County, MD), the all-out ban on smoking at Montgomery College has led to a problem of students going into adjacent neighborhoods to smoke and creating problems about which the neighbors have been complaining. A letter by the vice president of the college in yesterday's paper attempts to defend the policy.

The vice president writes: "Like many hospitals, schools and colleges, Montgomery College went tobacco-free to establish a clear and enforceable smoking policy, and to develop a healthy campus environment. At the Rockville campus, most students follow the "no smoking" policy and confine their smoking to off-campus locations along Mannakee Street and Rockville Pike. It is unfortunate that a small number of students have created problems by smoking, hanging out and littering on or near neighbors' properties. When the college first became aware of this issue, it took immediate action after talking with neighbors."

The Rest of the Story

It's not exactly clear to me how the Montgomery College becomes a healthy campus environment because the smokers who attend the college smoke on Mannakee Street or Rockville Pike rather than within the campus borders. How exactly does a student smoking on the opposite side of a street bordering the campus make the campus healthy, when if that same student smoked on the near side of the street, the campus would no longer be healthy? Frankly, this is stupidity.

It is kind of reminiscent of the logic beyond Boston's ban on the sale of tobacco by pharmacies. Somehow, it protects the public's health not to have pharmacies sell tobacco, but there's no problem if a convenience store or gas station sells tobacco. How exactly does it protect the public's health to make sure that people get their cigarettes at one type of establishment rather than another?

Yes, the anti-smoking movement is going too far. And it's going too far because it has lost its grounding in science. Moreover, it appears to have lost any semblance of reason as well.

No comments: