“Tobacco Free AUB” has a nice ring to it but what does it really mean for us as students at AUB?
The smoking ban puts nonsmokers and their needs above the needs of smokers all for the sake of “beautifying” and creating a “wholesome environment”.
How great is a university environment when the administration chooses to publicly shame their students who smoke and adopt an unwelcoming attitude by pushing them out of their own campus?
One argument the initiative cites is the right to clean air. However, that right has not been infringed upon when there are already designated smoking areas that separate smokers and nonsmokers. A reduction in these areas would be understandable, but the plan to eliminate all designated areas on campus is not.
Student Ola Haj Hassan shares her concern for the safety of smokers who are now expected to leave the campus in order to smoke.
“If overcrowding happens outside of the gates or student injuries occur on Bliss, will AUB be held responsible for a student’s physical safety then?” she said.
This initiative also promotes an elitist bubble around the issue of smoking. The ban implies that only those who can afford attending or entering our campus are privileged enough to be exposed to “clean” and “healthy” air, while the health of those outside are of no concern to AUB.
To be deemed “smoke free” is nothing but a problematic status for the university. Many parts of AUB are currently being renovated or under construction, so this means unsafe paint fumes, and dust floating around campus. If health and air quality are truly the motive, there should be a discussion as to why students are being exposed to such health hazards.
The language used by the people running this initiative also demonizes smokers in our community. In March, in his monthly article “President’s Perspective”, President Fadlo Khuri called the initiative “an opportunity [for students] to liberate themselves from the destructive, demoralizing and expensive chains of addiction and impaired health of tobacco.”
All smokers know the health risks they are taking when they smoke. After all, it is stated on all cigarette packs, and smokers continuously face social stigma as a result of this act.
Smoking is a personal choice just like choosing to not smoke is, and no one has the right to morally push us in one direction or the other, not even AUB.
It infringes on our rights to our own bodies and what we choose to do with them. The university is responsible for our education, and can educate us on our health, but should not be policing our health choices to this extent.