In the last issue of The Denisonian, one of our news editors engaged in a “Point/Counterpoint” with DCGA senator, who proposed a smoking ban which would prohibit smoking on A-Quad from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In his op-ed, the senator brought to our attention that there would be a fine for students who did smoke on A-Quad during the prohibited times. Although he was unsure of the amount of the fine, he said that it would be low enough as not to cause “a financial burden.”
First, “a financial burden” is subjective, and can only be determined by those who will have to pay the fine. Furthermore, if the fine will be so low that it won’t cause a “burden,” then why institute a fine? If the penalty will be meager, then there is no disincentive not to smoke on A-Quad. Of course, we’re not advocating for a higher fine – we don’t think there should be a fine at all. And we’re not neccessarily against the ban either, but it shouldn’t be the first solution.
If students are uncomfortable with other students smoking, why not say so? If we are a community at Denison, we should be able to solve issues in a way that does not involve applying a fine. For example, DCGA’s PR committee ran a great anti-vandalism campaign last semester, and DCGA should go for the same approach here.
Smoking is a risky behavior that some students have decided to take part in. Do we think they should be fined? No. Should smokers be more cognizant of how their personal habit affects others? Absolutely.