Online exclusiveOpinions

SAIT smoking: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, SAIT should become a smoke-free campus

I cannot be the only one who hates when I’m strolling through campus on the way to my next class and I walk into a cloud of cigarette smoke. 

With the creation of six designated smoking areas at SAIT, the Smoking on Campus committee hopes to appease everyone, both smokers and non-smokers alike. 

Well, this non-smoker is neither appeased nor pleased. 

It seems that little has been done to inform students about these new sites, so people are still lighting up around building exits and benches. Even the recent removal of the ashtrays across from Heritage Hall has not caused much change. 

Instead of making new smoking spots, why not simply have a smoke-free campus?

As someone who suffers from migraines, even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can be enough to trigger a misery-inducing migraine that can derail my whole day. 

It also inflames my sinuses, adding yet another layer to my cake of pain. Secondhand smoke also can’t be enjoyable for asthmatics or people with allergies, either.

Try as I might, I just can’t avoid it when it seems that smokers congregate around every exit.

This problem is especially bad during the winter, when many smokers disregard the posted distance they should be from the doors. 

Besides this irritation for non-smokers, “smoking is the leading cause of premature death in Canada,” according to Statistics Canada. Non-smokers are not immune, either: 800 Canadians die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke. 

If the scuttlebutt is to be believed, SAIT won’t allow students or staff to smoke cannabis on campus even after its legalization in October. 

So why are they still allowing tobacco products? Even vaping, a popular alternative to cigarettes, can be both addictive and harmful. 

Students who smoke might get some extra incentive to kick the habit with a smoke-free campus. 

“Smoking cessation assistance” is apparently available through student benefits, but if SAIT really wants to encourage students to quit, prohibiting tobacco use on campus seems like the way to go.

SAIT’s Edmonton counterpart, NAIT, has already gone smoke-free, as have several other post-secondary schools in Canada. 

Of course, there are people who think that SAIT should butt out of students’ decisions to smoke. 

Yes, SAIT is a trade school, and yes, many students and staff members smoke. 

However, their decision to smoke is their own. When they smoke on campus, especially outside designated smoking zones, they infringe on my decision not to smoke. 

If SAIT is truly committed to student health and welfare, a smoke-free campus is one major way to demonstrate that. 

Previous post

Pumpkin spice up your life: You can pry this delicious fall flavour from my cold dead hands

Next post

Living on your own 101: It’s okay to be overwhelmed while learning to manage life’s tasks