On Nov. 15, 2000, the Associated Students Legislative Council considered eliminating the sale of tobacco products on campus. What a wonderful notion. Why not take away adults’ legal right to purchase completely legal products in stores that have every right to sell these products? I can see no plausible reason to contest this action.
However, there are many intelligent lucidities in favor of outlawing completely lawful and legitimate tobacco sales on campus. For example, smoking is bad for people. It causes health problems that eventually lead to death. Let us for a moment disregard university students’ capacity to make a conscious decision as to whether or not they would like to smoke; instead, let’s allow A.S. to make the choice for them on the grounds that smoking is known to be "bad." To top it off, why don’t we just base that decision on a poll that includes both smoking and non-smoking students? This will imply a majority in favor of eliminating students’ right to buy the cigarettes they consciously choose to smoke on campus. After all, the ban will have no effect on the majority of non-smoking students.
Why not ban cigarette sales on campus? Smoking is bad for everyone, right? Right. But, why stop with tobacco products? I’m sure that we can identify many other products that are bad for us and proceed in banning the on-campus sales of these products. For example, fatty foods that are high in cholesterol and low in nutritional value have been found to slowly clog vital arteries that transport life-sustaining blood to the heart and throughout the body. Yet, these foods are sold throughout campus by eateries such as Wendy’s and Sunset Strips.
We cannot let this travesty continue any longer. We must end the deadly clogging of arteries by outlawing foods with low alimentary import (this means nutritional value in pompous jargon) immediately. I’m sure that if presented with the issue, a population primarily consisting of vegetarians and nutritionists would be strongly in favor of banning these foods. These people would not be affected by such a ban, and it makes no difference to them that other people enjoy these foods. It makes no difference that those who imbibe such products know the negative and long-term consequences of eating as they do. It makes no difference that informed students are making a conscious choice, which is completely legal and constitutionally protected, to eat these foods.
Smoking is, of course, much more deadly than fatty foods. However, the point that I’m trying to make is the following: Smokers’ rights to smoke and buy cigarettes is the same as anyone’s right to buy and use products that are deemed legal by the government. Furthermore, people have the right to not use a product, but those people should not dictate the use of that product for others. Smokers should decide if cigarettes should be sold on campus. The issue affects them. Non-smokers are not affected by the on-campus sale of cigarettes. If they do not purchase the product, it makes no difference if it is sold around them. In conclusion, let’s just allow smokers to buy their cigarettes unless they themselves decide to eliminate that right.
Constantine Economides is an undeclared freshman.