Back in October I discussed a proposed campus wide smoking ban. I described it with derision. It was a silly idea then, and one that has come into an impotent effect. Surprise, surprise I hadn’t noticed. Have you? I haven’t observed a decrease of smoking on campus. I haven’t heard any grumblings from smokers concerning tickets or warnings of tickets. Per my original expectation, nothing has changed. Though, they have surprisingly left the ashtrays in place.
So, what was the point? What was the point in having all the bluster, all of the initial press? Proclamations about various smoking bans around the city were handed down from the mountaintops, distributed in such notable publications as “Creative Loafing” and the “AJC.” We had joined the washed ranks of the elite. We had been brought into the twenty-first century of health and longevity. A campus wide ban, that puts Georgia State up there with the 600 other schools in the US to have begun the forced march to a smoke-free world. I have seen an increase in litter though, mostly from McDonald’s wrappers.
Has anyone been ticketed? I would really like to know. I would also like to know if a real campaign is going to come from all of this. Again, this “ban” sounds very nice, it sounds equally self-congratulatory. It’s on par with “like this link if you’re against human trafficking.” I would like to think your friends know where your politics stand on such an issue, just as I understand a modern university has to make the effort. Or rather appear to make an effort.
Perhaps Georgia State could alert us to the dangers of eating too much fast food? That would honestly do more for the litter, and probably a lot of people’s hearts. As I covered in the October essay as well, Georgia State remains a university in the middle of a sprawling city, a commuter school as well. Who are the students you can chastise? Who are doctors, lawyers, and business executives who work on campus? I don’t think they would be too pleased by a campus police rolling up on their smoke break.
Smoking is an easy target and this issue is much bigger. We need more health services, real services. This is covered in our tuition. We as a society need to be healthier. But, it is also no one’s place to tell a person what he or she can and cannot do; lucky for us, we don’t need to worry about that here. Clearly campus lacks the ability to follow through on just that. A slow clap for the effort, I’m looking forward to next semester when it’s expected everyone has to run a mile before arriving to their first class.