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Auraria should commit to cleaner air

Photo Credit: Madison Daley• The Sentry

Tobacco and smoking are freedoms that have consequences

Since February 2015, the Auraria Campus has placed several designated smoking locations throughout the campus and has taken a more aggressive stance on the use of tobacco and other vaporizer-type devices. Admittedly, before this policy change, there was a severe issue on the campus regarding smoking with various individuals walking around or hanging out while smoking and vaping, and consequently, the rest of the campus was subjected to their chemical clouds.

Back in 2009, University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus adopted a policy that completely banned tobacco on its premises, and the Auraria Campus should follow suit. Not only because the current smoking policy isn’t enough, but since the implementation, CU Denver’s campus has expanded and changed to include more programs that have increased and further diversified the population on the campus. 

One of the biggest issues with this is that the larger population includes more and more minors being on our campus. It is one thing to subject adults to a substance that is the “leading preventable cause of death in the United States,” according to the Center for Disease Control, but it’s downright evil to passively let kids in an educational environment be exposed to carcinogens as they breathe. 

Tobacco itself is a nasty little plant that is intertwined with the history of the world and has dug its claws into the United States because of how profitable and addictive it is. Over 200 years of successful marketing has made it seem like tobacco will always be a product in demand, but just because our predecessors chain-smoked doesn’t mean the current and future generations should be subjected to its tyranny.

Tobacco is a dangerous substance that not only causes immense harm to the consumer but its use places those around at risk too. Thanks to scientific research and activist groups, this notion is being dispelled, and tobacco has been on the way out these last decades. 

While the United States prides itself on being the country where freedom of choice is a principle held in the highest regard, it is an unalienable right that is worthy of the sacrifices made for it. But simply because it is important and cherished does not mean that it is absolute and without restriction. Some things in life need to be regulated; otherwise society might as well revert to the stone age where many humans lived to the ripe age of “died in childbirth.” 

Many may say it’s unfair to ban tobacco from campus. But even though it is an individual choice to smoke a cigarette, it’s still a choice that has consequences for everyone else. People can live their life the way they want to, and that’s the beauty of having the freedoms, but nobody should be at the mercy of someone else’s recreational choices when the price to pay could be the health and well-being of another. 

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