This paper focuses on why smoking should be completely prohibited from college campuses. It explores the effects of smoking and tries to give the rationale for prohibiting it. It also explores the views of those who support smoking. This topic has attracted a number of heated debates and a consensus has not yet been reached on whether or not smoking should be prohibited in college.
The diversity of opinion can almost be equated with the number of people who comment on the topic. Even those who agree that it should be banned; their reasons are so varied. Ayn Rand argues that smoking cigarettes signifies the power human beings have over nature1. Others feel smoking is morally wrong and the government ought to prohibit it. For some, smoking would be wrong and self-destructive, for other it would not be the case. Actually, a moderate degree of smoking is morally unobjectionable.
Here, morality comes in and this makes the argument against smoking a subjective one. What is morally acceptable to one individual may be objectionable to another. A focus on the moral persuasions of the majority reflects that they see no big deal in tobacco smoking itself but have a problem with smoking in college. Majorities also agree that smoking, for instance of bhang and cocaine should be prohibited be it in college or in the wider society: this is because of the moral difference between smoking tobacco and the rest. However, it is not obvious for one to find a moral justification in this and we can only question the moral leanings of the majority.
Some argue that in the ethics if virtue, there is the moral imperative to care for one’s health one should use his mind. They should ask themselves if smoking is justice/injustice to self? But then, a number of issues may trigger neglect of personal health, inter alia; sports, and career. Such things may subject their health and lives in serious risk. Is this morally right? Is smoking one such risk? What is the ultimate goal of smoking? For pleasure? If yes, is pleasure the highest good there is? Yet it is not uncommon for people to take reasonably serious risks to celebrate life, for instance, to attend sport, or a wedding an accident is possible. Human beings would have to live morally disputable lives if we were to consider all risks taking to be morally objectionable.
We will agree that we are responsible to live well. Man is a rational creature and should be able to make his own decision. “Human nature is characterized by reason and tolerance”2 John Locke argued. One can argue that if one wants to smoke, he should go a head but remember that he will bear the consequences dearly. Rigid rules to prohibit man from doing this and that do not allow him to live best.
Spontaneous regulation and restraint would make him live better. Our conduct should always and pari passu be monitored and supervised by reason. Some people consider it essential to encourage independent decision making on the part of their, say adolescent children, who then decide to smoke, this could be seen as no less morally justifiable than encouraging them to play ice hockey for enjoyment. But are such parents doing a morally acceptable thing?
Lets consider the effects of two substances (smoking).
Smoking tobacco has both short-term and long-term effects. The nicotine in tobacco causes a short-term heart rate, blood pressure and possibly increases in the flow of blood from the heart. It has the devastating effects of making the arteries narrow. The oxygen-holding capacity of the blood is undermined by carbon monoxide. “We think smoking is widespread and too little has been told about its danger.3” It is documented that smoking tobacco can cause coronary heart diseases, cancer of the lungs, esophagus, bladder, mouth, cervix, kidney among others.
Research findings reveal that there are more than 40 chemicals in tobacco that cause cancer in both animals and humans. It is argued that smoking tobacco does increase the likelihood of almost every other pregnancy-related health risk to both mother and child, and is the single most preventable causes of illness and death among mothers and infants in the developed world.4Then, why accept to be haunted by a problem that we could easily fling into the dustbins of forgetfulness? Are we morally justified in legalizing something that is fatal to ourselves? We have lost or deformed loved ones because of this very monster!
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) adversely affects nonsmokers “ each year, exposure to ETS causes as estimated 3,000 non-smoking American to die of long cancer and causes up to 300,000 children to suffer from lower-respiratory-tract infections” says American heart association (AHA) centers of disease control and prevention. Smoking of tobacco may cause accidental fires in school residential halls usually linked with careless smoking of tobacco treated with chemicals to allow it to smolder indefinitely. This list of the downsides of tobacco smoking is reminiscent of the real harm that tobacco slaps on its users.
With all these downsides, the authorities should not turn a deaf eye on those who bemoan its smoking. Others argue that smoking (tobacco) has some beneficial effects, which can be identified especially on certain medical grounds and are thought to emanate from the biological effects of nicotine5. For instance, because most patient with Alzheimer’s diseases are likely not to have smoked, this is interpreted to mean that smoking protects against the disease6. But research hasn’t proved anything so far so specialists are at odds with such a conclusion. They term it erroneous as some studies show the reverse.
Research findings depict that tobacco smokers are only half as likely as non-smokers has a protective effects of current smoking increases the risk of Crohn’s diseases, a form of inflammatory bowel diseases7. Some preliminary data from 1996 suggested that reduced incidence of uterine fibroids but overall the evidence is unconvincing. One would argue that if it were true that tobacco prevents some diseases, we have no rights in preventing anyone from smoking it as it would be no difference between this and preventing one from using any other preventive medicine.
Cocaine has both short-term and long-term effects. Short-term effects include dilated pupils, increased heart rate, blood pressure, irritability and constricted peripheral blood vessels. Cocaine has an immediate euphoric effect, which affect energy and mental clarity. Cocaine’s effects are short-lived and once the drug leaves the brain, the user experiences a ‘coke crash’ that includes irritability and depression. Cocaine too has long-term effects. It is believed that high doses and/or prolonged use can trigger paranoia-it can produce particularly aggressive paranoid behavior in users. Prolonged snorting can result in ulceration of the mucous membrane of the nose.8
It is documented that smoking has been associated with suicidal tendencies. College students who are daily smokers are more than five times more likely to have either seriously thought about or attempted suicide than non-smokers (Halperin and Eytan). Mental health disorders have been strongly associated with smoking, especially among adolescents and young adults. College students who smoke are more likely to participate in the risky behaviors that pose some of the greatest health threats to18-24 year olds. Smokers have lower grade point averages (GPA) than nonsmokers. The Harvard College Alcohol Study found that smokers are 27.0% less likely than nonsmokers to have an above B grade average (Rigotti, 2000).
Lower individual performance among students results in lower academic overall standings for colleges. Of the 15 million college students in the United States today, it is estimated that 1.7 million will die of smoking-related illnesses, most prematurely (Halperin, 2002). That amounts to over 10.0% of current college students. Smoking is addictive therefore denying students sober time to learn; may also cause conflict in college as students become unruly and may lead to larceny and arson in colleges. Then, Allowing smoking in college would adversely affect learning as it undermine the college administration’s effort to provide both security and learning environment that is conducive to the students.
Why permit smoking while studies evidence that 20% of all US deaths are due to smoking. From such statistics, one can conclude that the number of the deaths, which were caused, can easily be compared to casualties of genocide or a war 9. Therefore if we permit smoking, we have no reason in not accepting genocide.
However, the government may not want to control everything man does especially if it does not put at risk any one’ safety. If one wants to eat a monkey or live like one he should go ahead and do it. One person is quoted saying: Protecting me from myself is not the government’s job. Protecting me from others is, however, the government’s job.10
From the overview of the effects of both tobacco and cocaine, their devastating effects compel anyone to challenge both the legality and morality of accepting smoking. Well it’s almost universally agreed that life-preserving acts are superior to life destroying ones but mankind has failed to agree on smoking as a life-destroying act. Again, one would successfully argue that smoking of bhang and cocaine makes people to rape, kills, and steals despite the fact that those things are illegal.
If the government goes ahead and legalize, inter alia, cocaine, bhang it would not make any difference in not legalizing those behaviors in college. Tobacco may not drive one into these but instead it has more risk on one’s health. Permitting tobacco again is no different from allowing suicide for it is a means of killing one-self. Whoever permits smoking is at least morally guilty of causing it ailment and effects? For sure, J.Rousseau was right when he said, “man is inherently good but become corrupted by the evils of the society”.
- Rand A, Atlas Shrugged (New York: Random House, 1957 p61
- Locke, J. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Ed. Roger Woolhouse.
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4.Maternal and infant health smoking during pregnancy.
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The Possible And The Spurious. Br Med Bill, 1996 Jan 52(1): 58-72 PMID
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For Alzheimer’s Diseases, Contrasting Evidence From A Systematic Review
Of Case Control And Cohort Studies: Addiction 97: 15. 2002
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8.National institute on drug abuse. www.drugfree.org/portal/drug-guide/cocaine.
- Corbett, B. Contemporary moral problems, 2001
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- Legalize Pot (Canada only)
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11. Rigotti, (2000) and Halperin and Eytan,(2002) were gotten from http://www.ttac.org/college/facts/top/negative.effects/html