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Thursday, January 18, 2018


Students blow off designated smoking areas

No Smoking

Francis Emelogu/The Cougar

Since June 2013, UH has called itself a tobacco-free campus. Designated areas are still labeled around the campus, and all is supposedly well.

Despite the official rules, smoking seems to still be an issue all around campus. People can still be found smoking outside the designated areas, in front of buildings like the M.D. Anderson Library.

One may wonder why students are still smoking everywhere on campus. The answer is that the policy is effectively pointless.

A quick look at the UH website’s policies shows the old news from 2013. The contact section shows information on the 2012-2013 Tobacco Task Force that has not been updated since.

The University has not implemented a decent method of enforcing the “rule.”

According to the FAQ section of the smoking policy, those smoking outside of designated areas on campus are subject to a stern, yet caring, email. Students are also encouraged to inform violators of the smoking policy and ask them to stop.

With a policy so easy to ignore, there is little reason to follow the rule. Smokers on busy sidewalks may be an annoyance, but there is practically nothing that can be done about it.

Integrated communications senior Carolina Fernandez said she believes that the policy is a good one, but needs to be enforced and followed. Fernandez said she supports the smoking areas and thinks students should be able to walk around campus and feel comfortable.

“When it’s outside the designated areas it makes me uncomfortable. It’s not only the smell, but it’s also hazardous to health. Personally, I would be okay if they banned smoking completely,” Fernandez said. “But I do want it to be fair for everyone. If you’re going to smoke, respect the rules and those who don’t smoke.”

Currently, there are many around the University that do not respect their fellow classmates and faculty. Those who try not to smoke outside designated areas or on campus at all are even worse off; they aren’t able to avoid the second-hand smoke from violators in front of buildings or on busy sidewalks.

While the blame for such behavior lies on the smoking violators, whether they are ignorant of the rules or simply inconsiderate, the University’s current choice of enforcement also plays a part in the frequency of the violations.

If a rule is to have any kind of effectiveness on the inconsiderate violators, there needs to be some method of enforcement. If the University puts the same amount of effort into enforcing smoking policy than it does into parking violations, some of us would be likely to receive tickets for inhaling second-hand smoke.

It’s not fair for the University to advertise itself as a smoke-free campus when so little has been done to actually make that title credible. While smokers may have the right to do what they wish with their own health, smoking needs to be done in a way that does not inconvenience and negatively affect others around them.

According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, one-third of college students have used a tobacco product in the past four weeks. College students tend to try things concerning tobacco products, despite the warnings and potential health consequences.

Completely banning tobacco on a campus, like the University of Texas, will not change the nature of the student.

Simply putting signs up is not enough. Suggestions, words and pleading will only go so far. Fines and enforcement are necessary for the rights of the smoker and non-smoker alike to be respected and for the boundaries of the designated areas to have any meaning at all.

Although the death penalty is not appropriate for violators, perhaps students ought to begin carrying water guns on their hips in order to exact an equally annoying — yet less harmful to the health — vengeance.

In all seriousness, there needs to be change. Writing down a rule on a sheet of paper and declaring it to the world means nothing in and of itself.

If nothing happens when the rule is broken, the rule may as well not exist at all.

Opinion columnist Shane Brandt is a petroleum engineering senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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  • harleyrider1903

    Breaking the UTAH smoking ban in 1923..

    Which they were, since they—along with McKay, who as a result of some rather undignified snitching by his accomplices in crime was soon to become the object of a similar criminal complaint—openly had violated Section 4, Chapter 145, of the Utah state code. The four men had been smoking in an enclosed public place.

    The story goes even farther and UTAH became a laughing stock of the country for its smoking ban.

    In fact, only one state enacted a new, prohibitory anticigarette and antismoking law during the postwar antismoking campaign. That state was Utah.

    Utah had banned cigarette sales to minors in 1896, but although cigarette prohibition bills were considered in later years, Utah generally muddled through the pre-war crusade without actively joining in. The postwar revival of that crusade found congenial ground in the state, however, particularly within the powerful Mormon church, and in 1920 a church publication hinted that the time had come for all-out war. By February, 1921, the church had lined up enough support to secure easy passage of a bill prohibiting cigarette sales, cigarette advertising, and smoking in any form in certain “enclosed public places,” such as government offices, theaters, and—more germane to this article—cafés and restaurants. The bill sailed through the legislature with little public comment—no one really expected it to be enforced anyway—and was signed by Governor Charles Mabey. By June, 1921, cigarette sales and public after-dinner smokes were illegal in Utah, but as expected the new law affected Utah smokers hardly at all. Restaurant and theater proprietors seemed unwillingly to enforce it themselves, and the sheriff’s office and the police department bickered over who would have the thankless task. In the end, no one enforced it.

    In 1922, however, Mormon church president Heber J. Grant urged Mormon voters to elect officials who would promise to enforce the new laws. Benjamin R. Harries vowed to do just that, and in November, 1922, he was elected Salt Lake County sheriff. Soon after he took office, Sheriff Harries ordered a number of raids on suspected cigarette dealers, whereupon the dealers paid homage to the law by hiding their cigarettes and charging bootleg prices for them. Sheriff Harries obviously decided that more dramatic measures were required, because on February 20, 1923, Mr. Bamberger, Mr. Lynch, and Mr. Newhouse found themselves in jail.

    As if their march down Main Street had not been humiliating enough, the three men were then informed that each would have to post a ten-dollar bond before he could be let go. The implication that so measly a sum could substitute for their word of honor was simply too much; an argument ensued. The three finally were released on their own recognizance by Judge Noel S. Pratt, but not before they had chided deputies Mauss and Harris for not also arresting McKay. That did not help them, but it did result in another complaint being sworn. It was served by telephone, and McKay promised to surrender himself the next morning. Later that day Newhouse told a newspaper reporter that the entire affair was a “frame-up” and a political ploy by Sheriff Harries and his “asinine deputies.” Sheriff Harries dismissed the accusations as “bosh” and ordered his deputies to continue to enforce the law. The next day several deputies raided the Hotel Utah grill room and the state capitol (where the legislature was in session) and arrested six more smokers. The deputies were disappointed when they could find no smoking legislators to arrest.


    he pressure finally proved too much for even the strongest supporters of the antismoking laws. Within a week the Deseret News , a Mormon publication, signaled partial surrender by endorsing a pending revision of the laws to allow cigarette sales to adults and reduce greatly the restrictions on public smoking. The amendment bill streaked through the legislature and was signed by a no doubt relieved Governor Mabey. Charges against Bamberger and his partners in crime were dropped. The Utah crusade was over.

    The Utah anticigarette law was the last of its kind; although North Dakota and Kansas kept theirs until 1925 and 1927, respectively, they were never seriously enforced, Utah having demonstrated that strict enforcement caused more problems than no enforcement at all.

  • harleyrider1903

    Congratulations cookout fans you’ve just survived being around second hand smoke for 120,000 years of equivalent exposure! YOU SURVIVED CONGRADULATIONS!

    Barbecues poison the air with toxins and could cause cancer, research suggests. A study by the French environmental campaigning group Robin des Bois found that a typical two-hour barbecue can release the same level of dioxins as up to 220,000 cigarettes.

    Dioxins are a group of chemicals known to increase the likelihood of cancer. The figures were based on grilling four large steaks, four turkey cuts and eight large sausages.”

    Even the CANCER SOCIETY has benefit cookouts yet they push for smoking bans! Talk about being Hipocrits! Heres a real sweety pie of a special hype The Dumbest Fundraising Event Ever? American Cancer Society Joins BBQ Meat “Cook Off” to Raise Money for Cancer Research NaturalNews)

    Texans living in Navarro County are about to win a collective award for being the dumbest people in the world when it comes to diet and nutrition: They are hosting a BBQ meat cook-off to raise money for — get this — cancer research!

    Even the Governor of Kentucky and all the Anti-smoking Activists were at Fancy Farm for the big Political Cook Off Cook Out yet they too survived Inhaling 10S OF BILLIONS worth of equal cigarette smoke.

    Even there own Human exhaled Breath creates hundreds of the same chemicals found in tobacco smoke yet we arent outlawing HUMANS FROM INDOOR SPACES………

    Human Exhaled Air Analytics…” Buszewski et al, Biomed. Chromatogr. 21: 553–566 (2007)

  • harleyrider1903

    OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”


    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  • harleyrider1903

    Its just amazing they claim 7000 chemicals andthen go straight for the scare tactics. The fact is only about 700-800 actual chemicals have ever been trapped and identified in tobacco smoke the rest is fanciful theoretical nonsense.

    I delved into the claims above when I first read it and knew something was really up, like do they think people are that Insane when they see folks living into the 100s and still smoking and the fact we all grew up in smoking homes and around smokers yet we lived OMG!

    The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke… but found, obviously, in very small quantities if at all.This is because most of the assumed chemicals have never actually been found in secondhand smoke. (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80). Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01). – (Excerpted from “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains” with permission of the author.)

    Quite a different story when you get the truth for a change!

  • harleyrider1903

    Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: Of course it’s prohibition, you fool

  • harleyrider1903

    Just open the window!

    I was interviewed on BBC Scotland radio this morning on the subject of banning smoking in cars (listen here for 7 days, 2.17 hours in). Sleepy though I was—and coming off the back of a hilariously one-sided vox pop—I tried to make the point that the simple act of opening a window in a moving vehicle provides ample ventilation to disperse secondhand smoke.

    Prof John Britton had earlier told the BBC that levels of secondhand smoke in cars are twenty times higher than in smoky bars. As a medical man, his opinion naturally trumped mine as far as the presenter was concerned. Nevertheless, it’s worth finding out this ’20 times higher’ claim comes from.

    A good place to start is a heavily referenced report from ASH (UK). It claims that:

    According to a report by the Ontario Medical Association, secondhand smoke levels in cars can be 23 times greater than in a house.

    ASH give a citation of this report from the Ontario Medical Association, which says:

    Based on the evidence that exposure to SHS in a vehicle is 23-times more toxic than in a house due to the smaller enclosed space, the state of Colorado drafted a bill that would impose fines on adults caught smoking in cars when a child is present.

    But what evidence is this? Their only reference turns out to be a news story from the Rocky Mountain News, not exactly a reliable scientific source.

    ASH do, however, have another source:

    A study comparing secondhand smoke particle concentrations in a vehicle with those in a bar which allowed smoking, found in-vehicle concentrations 20-times greater than inside the bar.

    Again there is a citation, this time to an actual scientific journal, but the article in question does not measure secondhand smoke in cars, nor does it attempt to. It certainly doesn’t give any estimate of how much more secondhand smoke is in cars than other locations, and it doesn’t cite any references that might lead us to find an article that does.

    And there the trail ends. Such is the game of Chinese whispers that passes for evidence-based medicine these days.

    If you want to find some real science on this issue, you have to turn to an American Journal of Preventive Medicine study from 2006, which measured particulate matter (PM2.5) in vehicles.

    Bearing in mind that the EPA’s ‘hazardous’ level for 24 hour exposure is 250 ng/m3, this study found average peak concentrations of 271 ng/m3. But they did so by keeping the windows closed. When a window was opened, the level was only 51 ng/m3. This is a fraction of what would be found in a smoky bar (200-500 ng/m3) and is well within the EPA’s limit (which, remember, is for 24 hour exposures, not the occasional car journey). And after smoking, levels quickly fell to the same found in a nonsmokers’ car.

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