By Ben Frederick
In the fall of 2013, Cleveland State University issued a policy that banned all use of tobacco in campus buildings and on property owned or leased by the university. This includes sidewalks, walkways, parking lots and anywhere else maintained by Cleveland State. They did this to stop the use of tobacco products on campus because of the harmful side effects it can have. It does not only affect the smoker, but also the people nearby. The university did not want to force anyone to quit, but to specifically restrict the use of tobacco product on campus. Cleveland State’s primary goal was for this policy to be achieved by 100% volunteer compliance. However, the policy states that if one does not follow the policy disciplinary action will be used.
This leads me to my main point: Cleveland State University needs to start enforcing this policy. I have seen people associated with the university smoking on campus too many times. These people smoke by the Science Building and in the courtyard by the Student Center. They smoke in plain sight and cause discomfort to everyone that is nearby. The secondhand smoke hurts people’s lungs, and I personally cough and feel worse after every time I walk past a smoker. The smokers then throw their used cigarettes on the ground, polluting and littering on campus. These people are a nuisance to everyone on campus and should be dealt with for breaking the rules and harming others.
The university already took the first steps to stop this travesty, but it needs to continue its effort. Cleveland State should start to fine violators and, if necessary, remove them from school property. Some people say this may be a bit drastic but Cleveland State already says they will have disciplinary action if people continue. They would simply be following their own policy by enforcing it. It would also bring the campus more capital that can be used to better the campus. The university should enforce the no smoking policy because it is good for people’s health, brings in money and is already in the policy to enforce.
The policy has been in place for four years, and in the beginning, I could understand why Cleveland State did not fine people because it would be unfair to fine someone that did not know about the policy. However, after four years and numerous signs scattered around campus, everyone should know that it is against the rules to smoke on campus. Ignorance to the policy is no longer an excuse.
The university should respect the wishes and wellbeing of the whole instead of protecting the few. Cleveland State police should immediately follow through with disciplinary action — such as fining — on the no tobacco policy.