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Editorial board opinion: Victoria College smoking ban makes sense

July 28, 2010 at 2:28 a.m.


What a difference a decade makes.

Ten years ago, smoke wafted inside, outside and all around public buildings across the Crossroads.

Since then, Victoria has followed most of the country in cracking down on places where people could smoke. As a result, a meal at a restaurant is a much more pleasant - and healthy - experience.

Because of this shift in societal attitudes toward smoking, Victoria College's campuswide ban, which takes effect Aug. 16, should come as no surprise.

Most people don't want to be bombarded with smoke as they enter and exit a building. Smoking in public is a hazard to the health of others.

Unfortunately, some smokers on campus broke the existing rules requiring them to stay at least 12 feet from a building's entrance. Nonsmokers, particularly those with offices by the door, complained about the smoke wafting inside the building.

VC officials decided the easiest way to deal with smoking was to ban it entirely. The ban extends even to cars parked on campus, which seems a little extreme. If people want to smoke inside their private vehicles or homes, that should remain their choice.

Practically speaking, it's hard to imagine campus officials will be enforcing a ban inside vehicles. The ban, though, should make it easy for everyone on campus to politely ask smokers to extinguish their cigarettes.

The world is changing and for the better, in this case. University campuses typically lead the way on such health issues.

Eighteen college campus in Texas already have a campus-wide smoke ban. The University of Houston-Victoria, which shares VC's campus, also is considering a ban.

If people are limited to smoking in their homes and vehicles, perhaps they'll be more motivated to end their dangerous addiction.

Ultimately, a further decline in smoking will be good for everyone.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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