Bad smoking habits smother an innocent campus

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Jackie Salzano

From the youngest of age I can remember being taught that smoking would impose negative consequences on human health. When I arrived at Radford University, I was in utter shock at how many students my age I saw engaging in smoking not only harming themselves, but also those around them through secondhand smoke. Smoking at Radford University is a problem because of the health dangers for those smoking and those exposed to the secondhand smoke and the campus becoming littered with smoking debris.

Cigarette smoking has negative effects on almost every body part and puts those who smoke at risk of diseases. Not only are there short term effects, but long term as well. The short term effects are shortness of breath, loss of appetite and impaired vision. Long term smokers are at risk for cardiovascular disease, tooth decay and menstrual disorders.

Smoking is the leader in the most preventable illness and death in the United States. According to Fit and Well (2011), “…[the] 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health [stated], nearly…13.7 million [smokers are] college-age American.” Out of those millions, 21.8 percent of males and 17.3 percent of females are considered smokers (p. 378).

By RU allowing smoking on campus, they are actually promoting this unhealthy habit that is killing millions of students around the nation.

There are also harmful effects for those who do not smoke, but are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The Fit and Well textbook states, ETS is smoke that enters the atmosphere from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, as well as smoke that is exhaled by smokers; also called secondhand smoke. Smoking affects the person smoking and those around them because of the raised carbon monoxide levels which are dispersed through the air from the cigarette.

As I walked to sociology class, one bright morning, I witnessed a student who had just finished their cigarette and instead of using the ashtray that was about an arm’s length away, they just threw the butt on the ground and stepped on it. I know this is not true for all the smokers on Radford’s campus, however many smokers do contribute to the littering of cigarette butts.

When a cigarette butt becomes a piece of litter on the ground the little pieces of chemically filled trash affect people and animals. Cigarette butts are responsible for causing fires that destroy people’s homes and the habitats of animals. These fires can also take the lives of people. In 2010, a sophomore at St. Thomas University was killed because of a fire started by a cigarette. Cigarettes are more powerfully harmful then one would commonly think.

When I started here at Radford University, there were numerous amounts of students smoking; more than I had imagined. Those students, who come to Radford as non-smokers, may feel the peer pressure to start engaging in smoking. Being in a new environment with new people, when students see others smoke, they may think that is the way to gain new acquaintances. However, there are many consequences to this action.

Because of the numerous number of negative effects associated with smoking, smoking should be prohibited on campus at Radford University. If that is not possible, it would be great for the university to have designated smoking areas to contain the ETS around campus.

If smoking was eliminated from campus, the air would  be cleaner, the streets and sidewalks would be clear and these students will be able to live a healthier life.