Berkshire Community College should follow the lead of the grassroots anti-smoking group at the school and ban smoking on the campus. Implementing tighter restrictions on smoking as discussed is not enough as there is no good argument for allowing smoking at an institution of education.
Faculty and respiratory care students used the occasion of the American Cancer Society's 37th annual Great American Smokeout last Thursday to educate students on the perils of smoking. There are no mysteries left, as smoking often leads to cancer, heart disease and emphysema, among other debilitating illnesses, and a slow and often brutal death. Second-hand smoke is a proven hazard, meaning that smoking is dangerous to others in any public location, and ostracizing smokers as is the case at BCC is no longer enough.
It was stunning to read the comments of BCC students -- one of them a pre-nursing major -- arguing against tougher no-smoking policies in Friday's Berkshire Eagle. One student didn't "see how we are harming anyone," but he is, of course, harming himself, specifically his heart and lungs. Rather than find places on campus to smoke surreptitiously, as threatened, if BCC enacts a ban, we would urge students who smoke to avail themselves of the smoking cessation programs available in the Berkshires so they can rid themselves of the highly addictive drug. Not only would they be preserving their health, they would save the money wasted on the purchase of heavily taxed cigarettes.
Mount Wachusett and Bristol community colleges have smoking bans in place. We urge BCC to become the third community college in the state to do so. It's the healthy choice, and one that sets a good example for other institutions.