Why Fordham Should Be Smoke-Free

By JOSHUA CRUZ
Contributing Writer
Published: October 11, 2007

Fordham University should be a completely smoke-free environment in order to promote a healthy smoke-free lifestyle for students. At least that’s what its PR department should say. All of Fordham University Lincoln Center should be smoke-free, including “The Plaza”.

Technically, “The Plaza” is part of the FCLC structure, since it is just an elevated garden on the building. Smoking policies enforced by several companies have been shown to be beneficial in numerous ways. These policies help smokers to begin quitting, increase productivity and give a cleaner and more professional company image.

Fordham, too, should help its students stop smoking, because the university should care about the health of students. Whether or not Fordham does care about students’ health, it certainly should care about the school’s image. “The Plaza” is at the very heart of the FCLC campus, located in between our prestigious law school and the Leon Lowenstein building. Why do we want non-smoking students, visitors, benefactors and potential students and their parents to see Fordham smokers performing such a disgusting act in what is such a beautiful garden? Smoking is trashy, low class and presents the wrong image of the school to the public. It’s frustrating that Fordham smokers insist on tarnishing the school name and their own image by smoking, especially on school property. Despite a decrease in the number of smokers in most age groups, the number has actually gone up in college students. This increase in the number of college students who smoke is alarming because most age groups, the number has actually gone up in college students. This increase in the number of college students who smoke is alarming because so much anti-smoking advertising is aimed at this very age group.

We, as a collective generation, have been told since childhood that smoking is bad. Smoking leads to lung, larynx, mouth and throat cancer. Today, researchers have discovered even more harmful effects of smoking. In 2004, the Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, released updated reports on the affects of smoking. The new studies prove that smoking can cause acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach.

Smoking related deaths cost the U.S. $92 billion a year due to lost productivity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 1998, the CDC also reported that $75.5 billion was spent on smoking-related health care cost. There is no dollar sign you can put on the lives of those suffering from smoking-related diseases. Even though my own mother and certain other people I care for very much still continue to smoke, and it hurts me to think that they might suffer smoking related illnesses or death, I believe in tough love. I say that when we finally get universal health care, we should write a clause that says smokers aren’t eligible for it.

If you are going to engage in activities that are proven to have a direct correlation with health problems, you shouldn’t have the right to universal healthcare. According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the average cost for a chemotherapy treatment is $3,722. The high cost of healthcare might persuade smokers to give up their addictions. A pack of cigarettes might not fit well into your budget plan when you’re shelling out a huge amount of money to save your life.

So why do so many people smoke, especially college students? Tobacco companies have done studies on why college kids smoke. Independent research from the tobacco industry has found that college students that smoke are often very stressed, have anxiety and self-esteem issues, so they smoke to be considered “cool.”  In addition, research groups also say college students with psychological problems use smoking to cope with these issues. The socially awkward might use cigarettes to help social interaction. In essence, these studies paint the picture that the average college smoker is anxious, unconfident, socially insecure and a head case. I can see the truth behind the first three out of four. Anxiety, low self-esteem and social insecurity might lead someone to turn to smoking, but smoking does not mean you’re “psychologically disturbed”—it means you’re an idiot.

Smoking is not only an overall stupid decision; it goes against the ideology of the typical liberal Fordham student. The most popular brand of capitalist cancer sticks in America is Marlboro, owned by Altria, which was known as Phillip Morris before the company decided to change its name to sound friendly and non-offensive. Altria sounds a bit like an anti-depression medication (from my general observation). Marlboro seems to be the brand of choice for Fordham students as well. Congratulations to tomorrow’s free-thinking, intellectual, liberal rebels—your money is funding one of the most evil industries in the world. The capitalist, old, rich white men are more than happy to take your money for a product that’s slowly killing you and fuel it into right-wing lobbying and organizations that I’m certain go against “what you believe in.”

Don’t believe me? Altria contributes to the funding of the organization, The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (ASSC), which is a group that states global warming is a lie and that smoking isn’t detrimental to your health; the government is just making things up. Do you think the United States of America would give the public information that could harm capitalism if it wasn’t the truth? Also, ASSC is funded in part by Exxon, and you all know that oil companies have such a great reputation as environmental protectors! According to the center for public integrity, Altria spent $101 million on lobbying the U.S. government from 1998-2004. This makes Altria the second most active organization to lobby the government.

Actions speak louder than words. Consumption of tobacco products is not only bad for your health, but it also funds projects and ideologies that are against what you claim to believe in. So, next time you and your socially awkward, free-thinking, liberal hipster buddies get together to discuss “The Man” and you light up, remember my words:  You are a hypocrite and a corporate slave—“The Man” has you right where he wants you.

My point is that smoking is extremely harmful to your health. If you consider yourself an intellectual and a future leader of America, then why would you engage in such a self-destructive activity? The smoking that happens on “The Plaza” gives Fordham a bad image. If Fordham students are so intelligent, why would they smoke? Fordham is doing much to rise in the ranks, and banning smoking on all school premises should be a part of that plan. Ultimately, a smoking ban will benefit Fordham students by limiting their options on where they light up and by giving the school a cleaner look. If students still continue to smoke elsewhere, that’s their own stupid decision, but Fordham administration can say that it has done everything possible to promote anti-smoking and better health for its students.

Addendum: I realize that this article might not sit well with many smokers due to my strong opposition to smoking. If any particular readers feel personally offended or privately attacked in a public manner by my statements, then I have reached my intended audience and I make no apologies.