OPINION: Smokers will quit when they want to, not when Humber says

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Opinion

Druv Sareen
News Reporter

All smoke is created equal, according to Humber College’s new campus smoking policy.

In an email to students, Dean of Students Jen McMillen announced that as of Jan. 1, 2019,  Humber is going completely smoke free.

No weed, no vapes, no tobacco  – oh my.

Humber is not the first college to embrace the smoke free lifestyle. The recent legalization seems to have many post-secondary institutions worried. The number of post-secondary institutions going smoke free has grown exponentially since 2017, according to a report by the Canadian Cancer Society.

Sheridan College is beginning their smoke-free campus policy on Oct. 17. Algonquin College began its interim smoke free policy on Oct. 15. Algonquin is also the only college having consultation on its program before the school finalizes it in January.

Smoke-free is the seemingly hot new trend spreading across Canadian campuses.

It is understandable why colleges like Humber are panicking about legalization: this is unprecedented territory. There is no ideal framework provided by the federal government in regards to smoking on campus.

Humber’s approach to legalization leaves many questions, but one in particular stands out.

Why are tobacco smokers being penalized for the legalization of weed?

Under the new Humber Campus Smoking Policy, there will no longer be anywhere on campus you can smoke a cigarette or vape. For those in residence, be prepared for long cold walks to your nearest off-campus sidewalk for your nicotine fix.

If you don’t smoke, this may seem like a bitter smoker lamenting the loss of a self-destructive habit. Why pity the person who is willingly destroying their body?

Smoking is a very bad coping method for many people. On the grand scale of coping methods cigarettes are probably not that much better than rampant drug use or alcoholism, but still represents one way students handle the stress of college.

People know smoking kills. It is not hard to find someone who has lost a loved one to cancer. The traumatic image of someone smoking through a stoma does not leave you. This is not new information to a smoker.

Smoking is the choice of an individual. You can throw all of the horrifying visual aids at them, you can tell them about your grandmother’s last moments after years of chain-smoking. Chances are they’ve probably heard it before.

Humber and the Canadian Cancer Society say that this move will help make quitting easier. Humber can provide smoking cessation services as it has advertised.

None of this will work until the smoker wants to quit.

With its new policy, Humber has taken that choice from many students, faculty and support staff.