EOU stands up against smoking

By Observer editorial December 28, 2012 09:39 am
Oregon has a law that prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars. But the state is far from smoke free. Just walk down any city sidewalk and you’ll see collections of smokers out front of bars and restaurants enjoying a smoke.

The law, however, has made progress in protecting the general public from secondhand smoke. The law provides for protection against exposure to secondhand smoke in workplaces and public places, and now Eastern Oregon University is taking steps to make its campus a lot more smoke free. 

A university should be among those leading the charge for going smoke free. It’s the smart thing to do. The state, though, has a long way to go. Some 16.3 percent of adults are cigarette smokers. Oregon ranks 11th among the states with the highest percentage of adults smoking, a dubious distinction. 

Oregon youth are doing better. Among those aged 12–17 years, 9.7 percent smoke, which ranks Oregon 16th out of the 50 states. Still, this is nothing to brag about, and EOU’s stand will discourage tobacco use.

Here’s the bottom line: EOU will ban the use of all tobacco products as of Sept. 15, 2013.  This complies with an executive order by Gov. John Kitzhaber that will make most state property and buildings tobacco free by 2014. 

Now people can smoke on Eastern’s campus outside and away from buildings but not at athletic events. People can chew tobacco in and outside of buildings except in residence halls., where they are allowed to possess it but not chew it.

 Eastern is developing its policy, which will be presented at campus forums. The forums will also provide information to students and staff on getting services to help them stop using tobacco.

Sure, people still have a right to smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco. But not everywhere. EOU is taking a strong stand for the greater good.

Making healthy life choices is all a part of the educational process. EOU is taking positive steps to make that happen.