Opinion: New campus smoking policy is a good move for CSU

Bridgette Windell

Smoking is gross. There, I said it.

It wasn’t until I went to a String Cheese Incident concert that I could stand being around cigarettes. Prior to that concert, I would obnoxiously cover every breathing passage on my face as I walked by a smoker, making sure they knew they were polluting the air I breathed. Now I can be around cigarette smoke, no problem, and sometimes I enjoy it (there, I also said that.) But, I will never actively choose to smoke.

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I’m not bashing on the actual smokers themselves — most of my friends smoke and it is definitely a personal decision. However, smoking around others that choose not to smoke always raises concern with me. I recognize that in the past it has been a norm to be able to smoke virtually anywhere; however, smoking in public spaces has effects on others besides the actual smoker themselves.  Non-smokers are exposed to potential diseases and complications from second-hand smoke, especially in public places that can’t just simply be avoided.

In the last week, the university has chosen to ban cigarettes, essentially making CSU a smoke-free campus — and it’s about time. When I first visited CSU’s campus as a young buck, I could not believe that there was an established smoking area right at the entrance of one of the main buildings on campus. There was not a time where I could sit outside of Clark and enjoy the fresh air without someone’s smoke stack ruining my oxygen consumption.

I would assume that most educated students know that smoking is bad for your health, and allowing smoking on campus grounds seemed a bit ill-educated and naïve — characteristics that are completely opposite of the purpose of an educational institution such as ours. 

It always seemed hypocritical for an institution that promotes education, to have had an “accepted” smoking area central to campus. Smoking is proven dangerous, yet still allowed across many college campuses; a reality that is totally bizarre to me. 

I think CSU made a smart decision in agreeing to deem campus smoke-free, trying to promote overall health for its students and faculty by discouraging smoking and encouraging a positive community that is educated about smoking.

Also, considering CSU is recognized as a “green campus,” cigarette smoke and butts are relatively harmful to the environment; creating both pollution in air quality as well as in whatever landfill the waste is dumped.

The elimination of the cigarette receptacles makes our campus look cleaner, and in turn will hopefully leave a long-lasting, positive impression on visitors and prospective students.

As a campus in Fort Collins, rated one of the top 10 healthiest cities, it’s safe to say that many of us seek to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. The CSU campus community not only affects students, but the surrounding community as well. I believe the transition to a  smoke-free campus is more reflective of the similar values the majority of us share at CSU —healthy, environmentally conscious, and well-educated lifestyles.

Collegian Columnist Bridgette Windell can be reached at letters@collegian.com, or on Twitter @Bridgette_Rae.