Smoking Ban on Campus Misguided

Published October 22, 2008

John Nothdurft, Legislative specialist, The Heartland Institute – Chicago

The recent bans on smoking across entire campuses at state-owned colleges in Pennsylvania are political correctness overkill. The 128-acre Clarion University is one of the newest sites in Pennsylvania for such draconian smoking rules (” More colleges stamp out smoking ,” News, Oct. 13).

While some campuses offer “free-speech zones,” areas designated for student demonstrations where people speak out on whatever they wish, many of those campuses don’t offer a similar area to smokers.

In addition to protecting individual rights, legitimate safety ramifications should be taken into consideration before smoking bans are enacted. Clarion University’s ban will force hundreds of students, many of whom don’t have cars, to hike outside the relative safety of a college campus to partake in the legal act of smoking.

This move by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is another example of a governmental entity trying to gain political favor by branding smokers as second-class citizens. The ban puts hundreds of students unnecessarily at risk when accommodations could easily be made.

This Letter to the Editor was originally published in USA TODAY .