Over the last couple of months and following the announcement of a university-wide ban on smoking, the AUB community has been up in arms. The ban aims to gradually reduce the number of smoking areas on campus with an end-goal of eliminating them, leading to a 100% smoke-free campus by the beginning of the year 2018.
Many smokers around campus have been complaining about this ban and the gradual disappearance of their favorite smoking spots. However, they do not realize the benefits behind the smoking ban, both with regards to the smokers and the AUB community as a whole.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 7 million people die each year from tobacco related illnesses and diseases, with 890,000 of those as a result of second-hand smoking.
AUB is simply working on an initiative in an attempt to change that.
The ban is based on extensive research and the successful experiences of other similar institutions. In the United States alone, at least 1,400 universities and colleges which are 100% smoke-free have documented and evaluated their generally positive results.
Both smokers and non-smokers refuse to accept some of the facts at hand and to acknowledge all the positive results that this ban may yield.
Dr. Rima Nakkash, the Chair of the task force behind the ban, believes that some of these results include less exposure to secondhand smoke, more attempts to quit smoking, and a decrease in the number of new students who take up smoking as a habit at university, among others.
Thought has even been put into those who wish to quit smoking but are having trouble doing so. The ban is partnered with the Wellness Center at AUBMC which provides a “smoking cessation package” to those who want to quit.
Of course, this has been offered for a while, but it is now covered by the Health Insurance Plan (HIP), according to Nakkash, and is very easily accessible to all those who wish to be covered by it.
The overall smoke-free campus is an encouraging environment that is sure to help those who want to quit. This will lead to a more smoke-free student body, and consequently a healthier one which implies that it is not likely to die ten years before it should, according to the WHO.
AUB is also not completely stopping smokers from smoking. They may still smoke off campus, in their own homes, and in other spaces that allow it.
It is merely banning them from smoking on its premises, which it has every right to do, especially knowing that this is for the benefit of both the environment and the AUB student body, faculty, and staff.