The College of Charleston Board of Trustees and President George Benson recently approved a policy that will make the College of Charleston a 100 percent tobacco free campus beginning in July.
This is contrary to the previous policy that only prohibited smoking inside buildings and within 25 feet of designated smoke free entrances.
The decision has been one of controversy. Proponents are ecstatic at the protection of their health rights. Opponents feel their individual rights to decide to smoke are being infringed.
It seems to be human nature for individuals to desire that their rights be upheld even if they infringe upon the rights of others. It is in circumstances like these that the common good must be analyzed.
The College of Charleston has students, faculty and staff with pressing respiratory illnesses. There is also a large population of nonsmokers on the campus.
Due to the lack of efficiency in the policy passed in 2006, the health rights of nonsmokers were not protected from the negative effects of passive smoke.
As a student at the College of Charleston and a person battling a chronic respiratory illness, I can vouch for the extreme amount of smoke on the College campus. Every day I’m forced to hold my breath on the way to class to avoid inhaling the exhalations of smokers.
Although the decision to make the campus 100 percent tobacco free has caused conflicting responses, this is a decision that demands that all focus on the common good.
We must not see ourselves as individuals, but as synergistic members of a community. Rather than gloating about the decision, we must collaborate in supporting our governing authority, the Board of Trustees, and trust that their decision was for the good of the College of Charleston.
Sierra Raven Small
College of Charleston