Smoking. Love it or hate it, it is a part of all of lives, because even with ETSU’s strict policies towards smoking, secondhand smoke is somewhat unavoidable. So what is the solution?

Though there are strict policies against smoking anywhere outside of a personal vehicle, smokers here on campus hardly listen to that. I’m only a freshman, but I’ve seen cigarette butts all over the place and passed plenty of people just smoking on the sidewalk. That’s a bit of a problem.

Anyone, once they’re of age, should be allowed to smoke. I am not making an argument against that, but non-smokers should not have to be subjected to smoke if they don’t want to be. And past personal preference, there are serious medical issues that secondhand smoke can cause, especially for those with asthma or breathing issues.

ETSU believes the solution lies in trying to completely ban smoking from the campus entirely, but while it’s a nice idea, people are not listening to the rule.

People will still leave secondhand smoke all around their vehicle and will often just chuck the cigarette butts out the window. Parking lots are still on campus, and many are in highly-populated, central locations, locations that people who do not want secondhand smoke have to go through regardless.

So what is the solution? I believe the ETSU campus would be better served by designated smoking areas here on campus.

The problem with the current system is that it simply does not work and therefore doesn’t please any party. People who do smoke have a right to subject themselves to the dangers of smoking, but right now, even those who are following the current policy are still leaving secondhand smoke and likely littering once they’re finished. That does not even account for those who ignore the policy completely.

A designated area where people would be allowed to smoke would benefit the whole university. By creating an area where people who smoke can do so in the open and without worrying about who they’re subjecting to secondhand smoke, smokers will be given a way to smoke together without driving off-campus and will overall make the university a cleaner, healthier place.

Will everyone listen to a new policy since so many ignore the current one? Hopefully. Designated smoking areas would be a good first step toward a better, cleaner university that appeals to everyone, smoker or not.