It smells when it gets in your clothes and kills when it gets in your lungs.
Londoners walking past any Kingâ€™s building, Iâ€™m sure, will have become very well-acquaintedÂ with its student crowds and suffocating smog. Smoke, and cigarettes, although having been banned from campus,Â are still a very big part of student habits and seem to be taking over the sidewalks of the Strand. To some, this is a social or unbreakable addiction, but to most it is a nuisance and a health hazard.
This is the reality of Kingâ€™s Smoke Free Campus Policy. Much like skipping that 9 am that youâ€™ll â€œdefinitelyâ€ catch up on later, itâ€™s an idea that I can fully support in theory, but which falls apart in practice. By simply banning smoking on its campus, the College takes an â€˜out of sight, out of mindâ€™ approach to the issue, but smoking is still very much in sight once you take a single step outside a university building.
Streets outside campus become crowded, asÂ smokers can be heard clicking their lighters in unison like a bad jazz quartet. Litter too, the one thingÂ London does not have a shortage of, is abundant in these areas. Perhaps the College could try a student satisfaction free campus next year? After all, we could do with more of it.Â
I don’t yearn for a return toÂ 1930s-style smoking etiquette; but neither can we snap our fingers and have the problem go away in a puff of smoke, and in order to devise a serious and solid attitude towards smoking, more progressive and measured solutions must be considered.
The College should probably stick by the current law, which prohibits smoking in â€˜enclosed or partially enclosed areasâ€™. Basically, anywhere with a roof. Within courtyards, King’s can exercise its own discretion on the matter. Outdoor areas within campus should have a small, out of the way, smoking area equipped with bins and perhaps information on how to quit, which would be to the benefit of both smoking and non-smoking students. At the very least, bins should be installed where students now congregate to smoke. However, a move towards helping students stop smoking, rather than just changing where they do it, is far more important.
The Collegeâ€™s present stance on smoking is neither thoughtful nor wise and the smoke-free campus policy should be retracted and rethought.
Yes, a smoke free campus is preferable to smoking anywhere. But the College should be searching for a better long-term solution to a very imminent and serious problem.