Campus smoking ban continues stigma most smokers feel exists

Justice Council

By Ben Johnson
Staff Writer
Smokers are treated like second-class citizens in today’s society. It’s an opinion voiced by many smokers, but according to some nonsmokers, they deserve this designation.

Effective July 1, 2015, the state of Illinois will enforce a statewide smoking prohibition on all public institutions of higher learning. This ban will also be imposed on state community colleges, including Lincoln Land Community College.
As smoke rose slowly from his burning cigarette, a current student, sat in one of the few designated smoking areas on LLCC’s campus: the so-called “smoking hut.” As he sat there, he must have pondered that his days of being able to smoke in public was nearing a close. 
“(I’m) indifferent on the statewide ban. People are still going to smoke. But I like the idea of (them) being confined to a spot,” said David Molohon, a nonsmoker who is an engineering major at SIUE and former student of Lincoln Land.
Under the new bill passed by the Illinois General Assembly, an “individual or campus subject shall not discriminate or retaliate in any manner against a person for making a complaint of a violation of this act.” 
It also says that an institution must create and post on its website a smoke-free map indicating locations where smoking is prohibited on campus.
However, before all of this occurs, the state-funded institution must communicate to all students and staff, the prohibition of
smoking on campus. 
“I’m sure it will tick a lot of smokers off, because they won’t be able to get their nicotine on a daily basis,” said current LLCC student Tylar Everhart. “Honestly, I think they (cigarettes) are a bad deal, but if you want to keep your campus clean, then that’s your priority.” 
For many smokers, it is proof of their second-class status. 
In 2008, Illinois took the step of creating a smoke-free environment for its residents and workers. This includes bans on smoking in public places, such as bars, restaurants, schools, businesses and workplaces. If one were to smoke in these areas, he or she must be at least 15 feet away from the entrance.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, behind high blood pressure.
Being discriminated against is never fun, but this is a challenge that many smokers face today. Smokers are living with limited smoking areas, higher taxes for smokes and discrimination. As we move toward a cleaner society and with new laws on the prohibition of smoking, smokers may soon become a dying breed.
Ben Johnson can be reached at [email protected] or 786.2311.