Pitt smoking ban would be a breath of fresh air
As the number of smokers in the United States continues to decline, so does the number of places they can light up in public legally. The Centers for Disease Control estimated 17.8 percent of adults in the United States were smokers in 2013 (the most recent year that data is available). Back in 2005, that number was 21 percent.
Malls, office buildings, many hospital campuses and many restaurants no longer allow smoking. Think about it – when was the last time you were asked if you wanted to be seated in smoking or non-smoking when going out to eat?
And, if it goes through, the University of Pittsburgh will become the largest university in the state to ban smoking campus-wide. Ironically, the discussion began when students and faculty of the university told administrators that people were consistently smoking outside of the School of Public Health and outside of other buildings on campus. Currently, all of Pitt’s buildings and its vehicles are non-smoking, and smoking is prohibited within 15 feet of buildings’ main entrances and heating and air conditioning vents.
Of course, a city campus like Pitt’s will have some challenges determining where university property ends and public property starts. However, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Pitt will look at other urban campuses that have banned smoking, including New York University in New York City and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., for guidance.
If Pitt passes the ban – which could take some time, as proper steps need to be taken – it will join at least 1,620 other colleges and universities in the country, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. It’s worth nothing that 769 of those schools also prohibit the use of e-cigarettes.
We hope that the University of Pittsburgh is successful in passing the ban. The days where smoking was looked at as glamorous and sophisticated are long gone. Just because secondhand smoke is outdoors does not mean it is not still harmful. Moreover, perhaps the ban will be a deterrent to current smokers and give them another reason to quit.
If Pitt bans smoking campus-wide, it will take the prestigious university to a new level.