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Friday, July 1, 2011

Smoking Ban Hits Michigan Campus

If Wolverine nation didn't think Nebraska's entrance into the Big Ten today was relevant to their lives, they should have no doubt at the relevance of the University of Michigan's new campus smoking ban. Today marked the beginning of a campus-wide ban on smoking.

As a non-smoker, this ban has little actual impact on my life, but many have pointed to it as an infringement on personal liberties, which should impact all citizens. Though I'm not going to go into the political aspects of the ban, I would like to point out what is considered to be a major flaw; no enforcement method. In an e-mail to students, Mary Sue Coleman even admitted that the ban functions through "voluntary compliance" from students and faculty.

This could pose a problem because there is no incentive for smokers to avoid "lighting up" on campus since there are no penalties for their actions. However, I'm not sure this is the purpose of the campus ban on smoking.

With the University of Michigan's intense devotion to health and well-being, especially considering that the University has its own hospital and health system, having any endorsement of smoking seems hypocritical. With that in mind, this ban seems to be just more of a public relations move to come out and state "we are against smoking and its harmful health effects," which I think is something most people can get behind.

Regardless of the motive, I'm excited that Michigan is willing to push topics that may be controversial, but are good for the students' and faculty's health status. So next time you're near campus, remember to avoid "lighting up" or you may start getting dirty looks.

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