Compromise could welcome more positive reception on tobacco ban

The countdown has finally ended; tobacco has been banned from NKU.

And I’m just going to say it.

Northern Kentucky University makes me want to smoke.

While I know this ban is a campus-wide policy, it only directly affects a small portion of those who find their way onto campus.

I am one of those people.

Since I turned 18, I’ve been an off-and-on smoker. A culmination of things led to me lighting my first cigarette.

Between starting a new chapter in my life as a college student and working full-time, I was struggling to find ways to get my life in order. It felt like everything was just a jumbled blur of lectures and running around, and I couldn’t keep up.

I’ve always been prone to anxiety problems. Under normal circumstances, I’m no different than any other person, but I’ve always had difficulty handling stress. Once I reach my limit, I sink into a slump that can last for days.

At the time I had no other release, so I turned to cigarettes. I knew all the risks and dangers, but I was at a place where any price sounded reasonable as long as it helped me.

I can’t say that my first reaction to the ban was a bad one. In fact, I saw it as the push I needed to quit smoking for good. However, I started to realize how much I relied on a smoke between classes. I never really noticed this semester, but once or twice a day I needed to smoke.

I respect the rules of this university, and I have no intention of breaking the new tobacco ban. But, not everyone feels the same as I do.

The people I have spoken to about the tobacco policy task force have all stressed showing respect to those who smoke, but they shouldn’t expect those who oppose the ban to return that courtesy.

I can’t say what others will do to cope with the tobacco ban, but my ideas are still coming together. I’m perfectly fine with walking off campus if I need to smoke, but so far I’ve done a fairly good job suppressing my nicotine cravings. In fact, I am still planning to have my last cigarette before the end of the semester.

For anyone who doesn’t smoke, please try to understand what the smokers and tobacco users here at NKU are going through. A lot of them use tobacco to help them calm down and relax. Quitting goes much deeper than simply putting out a cigarette.

NKU officials have said time and time again that the university modeled its tobacco ban off of UK’s ban. The tobacco policy task force has told us that even UK doesn’t have 100 percent compliance, so they don’t expect to have that either. Even with the ban in place, NKU’s tobacco policy task force is hammering out details such as what happens when faculty and staff members are caught violation the policy from a warning and disciplinary standpoint.

With that being said, a few times a day, I notice one or two people smoking. Normally, they’re off to the side like they’ve always been, but a few continue to smoke on the way to class.

I can’t speak for those people, but I can say that NKU has always been a stressful place for me. After a particularly long and tedious class, I usually want a cigarette.

A popular opinion I’ve heard the past few semesters is rather than putting a tobacco ban in place, the university should enforce the smoking ban. Prior to this semester, there have been designated smoking spots on campus. While a lot of smokers did use those spots, there was always those who ignored the spots and smoked as they pleased.

Bearing this in mind, the smoking spots were a compromise. While NKU is taking strides through offering free NRT products through the QUITline, I still think that the smoking spots were the better compromise.

I’ve always been a person who likes compromises. They try to satisfy all parties involved, but fundamentally compromises are flawed. Neither party is going to get everything they wanted, but no one is walking away unhappy.