Maryland College Bans All Smoking

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Maryland’s Towson University is now totally smoke-free. That means no smoking inside and it means no smoking outside. According to an article by Carly Wellham in The Towerlight, the campus newspaper:

Towson is officially smoke free, and some students and faculty may take this time to cut back or even kick the habit.

Those students and faculty members who do not wish to quit will have to relocate to the sidewalks surrounding campus for their breaks. If they do not move to the designated smoking areas, they will be issued a fine of $75 per offense.

Safe Management officials in red shirts will monitor the campus and will issue the citations to those who are violating the policy. There is also an anonymous online reporting system where people can report violations.

The policy officially took effect on August 1, though Towson’s been planning for the smoking ban for at least two years. According to the school the new smoking prohibition:

Aims to reduce the health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce health costs associated with smoking, and ensure that all members of the campus community have access to clean air.

This, of course, is silly. There are no real health risks associated with occasionally encountering someone else smoking outside. It worst it’s annoying.

Nevertheless, it’s probably ultimately a positive change. One of the better things about smoking bans is that they make people think a little more about smoking. When smoking becomes awkward and difficult people are less likely to develop smoking habits and people who already smoke tend to smoke less.

Furthermore, people simply don’t have the right to light up wherever they wish. I guess ultimately in terms of violations against student liberty this is pretty minor.

But something about this seems a little odd. Towson—incidentally located in a state that once considered banning pornography at public universities—is currently caught in a situation where politically-motivated tuition freezes make it hard to pay for college costs. Maryland’s higher education chancellor also recently argued that the funding model for American universities is “broken.”

So who’s paying for the red-shirted smoking police? [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer