“It’s not your decision to make”

It’s been roughly 4 ½ months since the Georgia State Senate approved a ban on smoking and tobacco use on Georgia State’s campus. But if you’ve been just about anywhere on campus lately –especially the plaza –then you can see that this new order clearly hasn’t been adhered too. I think we should take a few steps back in the quest to rid the campus of these mini cartons of pollution and examine why this ban has ultimately failed. If we do so, we would find that ordering a student to stop smoking is not only ineffective but simply summons the innovator within these students who find creative ways to sneak that two minute break in. And who can blame them?


Everyone knows that banning something does not remove the desire for it. In fact, in most cases it increases this desire. The book Fifty Shades of Grey was banned in a number of stores and even countries. It sold like hot cakes afterwards and it’s been out years before the ban. But for many students, smoking is simply not a choice.


For many if not most students who smoke, it has become a chemical addiction. I’m sure most of you reading this are aware that cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Hours, even minutes without a cigarette can cause physical symptoms including depression, irritableness, and anxiousness. Some smokers rely on these quick puffs to make it through an upcoming exam or midterm. Others would rather enjoy a crisp cigarette in the shade of Classroom South than sip on a latte in Saxby’s. Whatever the reason student smokers choose to smoke, it doesn’t exclude the possibility of “dependency”.

Like any other addiction, smoking must be treated. Students should not only be informed of why quitting will be beneficial to them but they should also be aided in the process of doing so.


The faculty and staff of The Department of Respiratory Therapy have been aiding Georgia State students for some time now with what they call, “Quit Tobacco Tuesdays”. Also known as Freshstart, this four-phase program, designed by the American Cancer Society is FREE –and I emphasize free. Students are “provided with essential information and strategies to direct efforts to quit tobacco for good.” I think their efforts here should be applauded and are, quite frankly, understated. These people are educating the students and I feel education provokes action. As humans, we want to know “why?” That’s the big question in our lives, “Why?” As students in an arena of higher learning, this question is applied to almost every part of our studies. Placing signs up that read “no smoking” or issuing citations for smoking on campus does not answer the question “why?” Simply banning something does not educate students and only alienates them from the university itself.


Let student smokers know how quitting can benefit them. Let them know how smoking can be harmful to themselves as well as others. We shouldn’t assume that every student is equipped with this knowledge. But once equipped, quitting will be the student’s decision, not the University.