The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Is The Smoking Ban A Victory for Safety or Big Brother?

Posted by iusbvision on January 25, 2008

As of January 1st, our campus became smoke free. Some of us, who could not understand why smokers did not understand what “No smoking with 10 feet of entrance” meant, see this as a victory for clean air, clean lungs, and general well-being.
However, there is a flip side to this decision, as there always is. There are those of us who see this policy as one more freedom that is being taken away by “big brother”

As an asthmatic, I was happy to see this policy enacted, not just on campus but throughout our county. It is nice to walk into a restaurant and not have to walk through the smoking section in order to reach the non-smoking section, I never could figure that one out. It is also nice to walk into a building on campus and not have to hold my breath as I passed by all the inconsiderate people who felt the need to share their carcinogens with the rest of us.

I can remember champions of individual liberties encouraging me to join their crusade to stop “big government” from taking away another individual liberty. Sadly, while I support freedom and individual liberty, I sat that particular fight out because I was not going to stand up for the rights of smokers. Similar to the way proponents of free speech are not often up for volunteering to fight for the free speech rights of the Klan to use an extreme example.

It does seem ironic that the majority of the people clamoring for the smoking ban (government intrusion on individual rights) also are up in arms about things in the Patriot Act (government intrusion on individual rights).

Thankfully or regretfully, depending on your position, here on our campus, enforcement does not seem to be an issue.
The official policy reads, “Violations of the policy will be addressed through existing processes already in place for students, faculty, and staff”. It goes on, “Tobacco users are expected to voluntarily comply with the policy.”

Apparently the authors of this policy did not see how well tobacco users on this campus complied with the “10 feet from the entrance” policy. The most laughable part of the policy is how the university calls for student enforcement. “Anyone who observes a possible violation may courteously and without confrontation inform the individual of the tobacco-free policy (and here is the best part) and attempt to offer an information sheet [about the policy]. Are they kidding? Who is going to confront (without confrontation, mind you) a fellow student blatantly ignoring the policy?

Our campus security guards have more important things to do than be campus nannies. This policy will not be enforced unless the punishment becomes a fine, which will make the campus money, the same way parking tickets do.
In answer to the question posed in the headline: The new smoking ban is a victory for big brother, not safety. We have again, ceded liberties for someone’s notion of the common good. Maybe Judge Andrew Napolitano was correct, we are a nation of sheep and eventually we will give up all individual liberty in the name of the common good.

In our case, this is another example of a policy without teeth that no one has any intention of enforcing. I hope that I am wrong for the sake of rules and order. On the other hand, I hope I am right since all I really want is for individual people to just be left alone.

Jarrod Brigham

One Response to “Is The Smoking Ban A Victory for Safety or Big Brother?”

  1. jrockford1 said

    umm check out my editorial Jarrod …it about sums up what you’re saying in my old favorite editorial style.

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