Op-Ed: All Smoke And No Air

February 16, 2016

The Dominican Star’s Editorial Board has written the following piece. Editorials contain the opinions of the members of the Editorial Board. Members include Co-Editors-in-Chief Cory Lesniak and Marty Carlino, Managing Editor Melissa Rohman, Sports Editor Christopher Sich, Chief Copy Editor Emily Lapinski, and Digital Editor Sarah Tinoco

Each issue of the Dominican Star will contain editorial on various trending topics. The opinions do not reflect those of Dominican University.

August 2016 will mark the start of a tobacco free Dominican. As most of us know, the university is implementing a policy prohibiting the use of any and all tobacco products. The Illinois Smoke Free Campus Act was signed in 2014, making all public colleges and universities tobacco free; however, we the Editorial Board feel that the policy in place is all “smoke and no air”.

Dominican establishes itself as a place of diversity and inclusion. However, it’s kind of ironic that the university is asking all tobacco users to leave campus in order to smoke, without considering their cultural ideologies. The Priory campus is filled with foreign exchange students, many of which come from countries where smoking is a cultural norm.

Back in 2008, it was established that business owners could not permit smoking within 15 feet of both entrances and exits. Starting in August, smokers will be forced to smoke outside campus gates.

We understand the negative health implications of smoking; however, the few designated smoking spots on campus are some of the most popular places for students to hang out.

Dominican is located in the middle of a neighborhood. It’s bad enough that our neighbors have to deal with traffic and loud noises, now they may have to deal with smokers. River Forest is a very active community with people running and walking their dogs. As a neighborhood campus, we try our best to be kind and keep things as normal as possible for the surrounding households. But, since Dominican is now kicking smokers to the curb, the sidewalks outside the gates on Division might become the new go to place for smokers. How will that look for neighbors who are walking their dogs? Will Dominican supply garbage cans for buds?

Regardless of what happens, we feel that there could have been some sort of a middle ground established. If the problem of second-hand smoke was the main concern, why not stick the designated smoking area somewhere that is a far less busy? We understand that this is a health initiative and a move to have Dominican get up to speed with other non-smoking Illinois college campuses, but was a total tobacco ban completely necessary? Even the exclusion of vapor products is something that bothered students on campus.

The bottom line is that, come August, students who smoke will not be able to do so on campus. Community is the key focus of this new initiative. This includes the community of River Forest, the community of foreign exchange students and the community of students who smoke. Dominican is located in and contains multiple communities so, finding a middle ground, should have been considered.