Some have asked us why we’re doing this. Why are we in support of a smoke-free UAA? All of us on the UAA Smoke-Free Task Force have been affected by smoking. We’ve watched family and friends struggle to quit. Some of us have watched loved ones die. It is because of them we’re doing this.
This movement is not about limiting your rights. It’s not about discriminating against a group. It’s not about not caring. It’s not about that at all. We know that every time you pick up a cigarette, you limit your rights. You have a right to be healthy. You have a right to live a long life.
Don’t let the tobacco companies fool you. They’re in it for profit, not for you. When you begin to quit, you begin to expand your rights, not limit them. Until then, your choice should not affect another person’s right to breathe clean air.
Thank you to the smokers who support this movement. You are all brave. Courageous. When you support us, you help yourselves and help your community at UAA. We knew this issue would create a lot of debate. We’re listening. We will have plenty of opportunities for more discussion. We want to keep this discussion civil. We want a discussion on the issue, without any personal attacks.
Unfortunately, some have crossed the line into cyber bullying. We have documented these instances and are ready to forward them to UAA’s Dean of Students Office. We are not afraid. We know we are speaking for the majority of UAA students who want a smoke-free campus. A smoke-free UAA helps promote a climate of health. This climate helps people quit. This climate helps people live longer lives. This climate helps you keep more of your money for books, for tuition and for things that matter rather than cigarettes.
Most of all, this climate helps students to never start smoking in the first place.
The vocal minority will say they care about you most. But in the end, do you have more to gain by smoking or by quitting?
Yesenia Camarena and the UAA Smoke-Free Task Force