Smoking is bad for you. We all know that. It was drilled into our skulls from day one of that ridiculous D.A.R.E. program in elementary school, and has continued since then in many other forms. It’s ridiculous. If you don’t want someone to do something, the best solution is not a bunch of hand-wringing over how bad that thing can be. Humans are naturally curious and rebellious. We’ll do it anyway, because “fuck you, authority.”
Maryland apparently didn’t get the memo, though. In an effort pushed hard by the SGA, Board of Regents for the USM system, the university administration and pretty much anyone with any level of power, the ban is now officially in place. A previously organized campus smoke-in, put together by the campus Republicans, never materialized for one reason or another (an update I may provide in the comments if my buddy texts me back), so the ban passed into official policy today, with nary a protest over its implementation. I have to say, putting it in place over the summer was a genius move, because no one is here to protest it, even if they wanted to.
This move comes as many other universities nationwide are doing the same, or have done the same in the recent past. A cursory Google search shows that at least five or six other major institutions have proposed or passed bans, with one notable example being vetoed by Governor LePage of Maine for state institutions.
This is another shitty case of the government over-reaching on something they have been pushing hard to accomplish. Personally, I don’t really smoke, except when I get really drunk and someone offers me one, but I will defend the right of smokers to do so, because the campus is certainly large enough to accommodate them and everyone else.
The only glimmer of hope out of this thing is the existence of a few designated smoking areas on campus. Predictably, they don’t seem to be all that convenient, and they aren’t even all that large. In his email to the student body, President Loh had this to say:
Today a new policy takes effect that will make the University of Maryland a smoke-free institution. The policy, adopted by the Board of Regents last year, required that every institution in the University System of Maryland develop a plan to achieve this goal. The policy applies to everyone on campus, including visitors and contractors. It covers all buildings and all campus property, except for four designated smoking areas.
The Campus Affairs Committee of the University Senate reviewed the USM policy and made recommendations for the UMD-related policy. The University of Maryland strives at all times to provide a respectful, supportive environment. This smoke-free policy is no exception, and I ask each of us to do our part.
We have an opportunity to make this a constructive experience that will promote our community’s health and wellbeing, and at the same time provide support to those who want help to quit smoking. We have considerable smoking cessation resources on campus, such as those available at the University Health Center. More specific information is available online at: www.smokefree.umd.edu
Thank you for your assistance and support. We must all work together to implement this new policy for the benefit of our entire University community.
Here’s the link to the smoke-free page, if you’re a fan of the usual health center line on the issue and want to physically gag over how corny their commentary is.
God damn it, President Loh. What am I supposed to do while drunkenly wandering around campus at night now? Chew bubble gum?
Image via Scoan London