Changing Rules for Smokers?

1 min read

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

According to the Bi-Co News, Haverford president Stephen G. Emerson aims to “ban smoking campus-wide in the very near future.” This potential change has caused some debate, and a later Bi-Co News article reported that Emerson defended his stance arguing the smokers who criticized the plan “were saying things they knew weren’t rational because they are nicotine addicts.”



  1. Imagine there’s no smoking
    It’s easy if you try
    Nothing to make you irrational
    So you start wars that make people cry
    Imagine no more cigarettes
    We’d all live in perfect harmony

  2. It seems foolish to completely ban something just because some people don’t want to do it. If you want to keep it away from public buildings like McCabe, I could handle that. But to say that you are not allowed to smoke ANYWHERE on campus would be ridiculous…and I don’t even smoke…

  3. @Shaun: I think the issue is not that “some people don’t want to do it”, but that all the available scientific evidence suggests that smoking is really bad for both smokers themselves and people who share space with them. I guess Haverford has a point in saying that if they want to be uber-progressive they should just accept the health notices and not allow people to destroy themselves and others on the Hford campus.

    Personally, I don’t think that the fact that smokers are making a bad decision re: their health means that the college is justified in making a better decision for them. As long as I can get from point A to point B without having to inhale endless amounts of cigarette smoke, that’s good enough for me.

  4. @ Finlay: I agree with both of your points, and I guess I didn’t spell my argument out as clearly as I’d have liked to. I think that it is well within people’s rights to make decisions contrary to their health as long as it is not affecting the health or well-being of others on campus.

    I also have a fundamental problem with the idea of a college that tells students that they are not allowed to do something that is completely within their legal rights by the government’s standards. We are all adults here, and can make our own decisions, for better or for worse, regarding our health.

  5. [Jaharis] does not think that majority support is necessary to enact a campus-wide smoking ban. “If there’s enough of a minority, that should be enough,” he said.

    The Founders must be rolling in their graves over this self-righteous fascist.

  6. This is absurd? Before any Tri-Co campus bans smoking, perhaps they should first ban SUV’s, Vans, even the Blue Bus…God knows how many more harmful emissions those put into the air than our few cigarettes.

  7. Anyone whose sensibilities are offended by something like cigarette smoking probably isn’t ready to go to college yet.

  8. Cigarette smoke isn’t just harmful and offensive to some people’s sensibilities; it makes some people who have a particular sensitivity to smoke miserable, wherever they encounter it. I am thankful that the UK has banned indoor smoking, since I am in London now, and I was thrilled when my home state finally did the same thing this year.

  9. I’m not a smoker, but I feel like if someone is smart enough to get into a school like Haverford or Swat, then they’re smart enough to make the decision to smoke for themselves. If implemented, this could start a slippery slope to even more draconian measures in the future.

  10. Regardless of whether or not the rules are changed, the fact remains that there is no existing infrastructure to enforce a smoking ban. When the university of washington implemented a campus-wide smoking ban, nothing changed, except that the administration removed cigarette disposal stations, resulting in more litter on campus. In order to enforce the ban, we would either have to allow public safety to patrol the school and slap fines on smokers, or else encourage students to police their peers. In my mind, neither of these options are practical, but rather divisive and contrary to the entire philosophy of swarthmore. Do we really want to drive a wedge into the heart of the student body? If we create a system of enforcement and punishment, it calls into question the future enforcement of things like underaged drinking and drug use. While I don’t approve of such things, I respect the rights of my fellow students to do what they wish with their bodies free of censure.

  11. It would be nice if someone could provide some evidence to the effect that smoking in an outdoors space has a meaningful effect on the health of others. Certainly chain smoking in a car is going to hurt others in the car. But outside? Maybe if we were absolutely innundated by smokers and we couldn’t walk anywhere without inhaling it would be problematic. But I think I have seen six people smoking this whole semester. That’s an average of less than one a week, and to the best of my knowledge, your body can repair the damage done to it by one cigarette within a few days; the effect of passing one cigarette briefly would have exactly how much effect? I’d like to know.
    Also the question about applicability is interesting. Would a campus wide ban on smoking mean that one could not smoke in the Crum or the roof of AP? How would public safety enforce that?

    I think Fran Lebowitz said it well when he wrote “I understand, of course, that many people find smoking objectionable. That is their right. I would, I assure you, be the very last to criticize the annoyed. I myself find many– even most– things objectionable. Being offended is the natural consequence of leaving one’s home. I do not like aftershave lotion, adults who roller-skate, children who speak French, or anyone who is unduly tan. I do not, however, go around enacting legislation and putting up signs. In private I avoid such people; in public they have the run of the place. I stay at home as much as possible, and so should they. When it is necessary, however, to go out of the house, they must be prepared, as I am, to deal with the unpleasant personal habits of others. That is what “public” means.”

  12. ok i just have to say that is someone wants to smoke then let them do what they want to do. if you dont smoke stope fuckin bitching about your lungs most of the cancer that causes lung cancer is already in the air. so stop fuckin complaing and grow a pair just bc you have cancer dosent mean that you have to be hounding on thiose of us that dont:)

    who wants to live to be 80 anyway

  13. The problems re: smoking extend beyond simply lung cancer. Many people, myself included, have very unpleasant allergies to cigarette smoke and it ends up making every single minute I’m in a smoke-filled room immensely unpleasant.

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