California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Proposed Smoking Regulations Show Their Benefits

    It has become common knowledge over the past few decades that smoking is unhealthy. According to the Center for Disease Control those who smoke have a greater risk of developing lung disease, cancer, emphysema and other various illnesses.

    American culture has changed our views on smoking, and this change can be seen especially in pop culture where anti-smoking ads are prominent. But these changes are also prevalent in laws and regulations established by the government.

    Now there are more laws being proposed in California where lawmakers are proposing a tax increase on tobacco. Senator Richard Pan has proposed a new bill that would increase the sales tax on packs of cigarettes sold in California. According to the California Healthline website, this proposal would increase the sales tax of cigarette tax prices from 87 cents to $1.01.

    Many laws and regulations have been put in to place over time since studies began to show evidence of cigarettesโ€™ harmful effects on the human body. Still, despite mounting evidence of these effects, the CDC website said that approximately 17.8 percent of Americans 18 years or older still smoke cigarettes. This translates to42 million American citizens.

    Not only could the bill discourage people from smoking by making it more expensive, it could also generate $1.4 billion annually to fund other projects.

    Changes to regulations on smoking are also being proposed more locally. Associated Student of California Lutheran University Government has recently proposed to the Board of Regents that changes should be made on campus regarding rules and regulations of where students are allowed to smoke cigarettes on campus.

    โ€œThe senate proposed a resolution to limit the use of tobacco and smoking on campus, to promote a healthier lifestyle on campus but also give freedom to those who do smoke, but just limit it a little bit more,โ€ said senate member and senate director elect Daniel Lacey.

    These changes are reflective of public health concerns.

    โ€œNot everyone smokes and some are concerned with the health issues associated with tobacco,โ€ said ASCLUG President Ally Ruggles said.

    One of these changes include moving cigarette receptacles further from buildings, and will extend to all uses of tobacco on campus.

    โ€œWe are thinking about moving receptacles so that they arenโ€™t as close to the buildings or having signs designating areas around campus where people can smoke,โ€ Ruggles said.

    These changes could have an impact on those students who do smoke or use tobacco products. However, ASCLUG is understanding of those whose culture embraces smoking or who have personal preferences when it comes to smoking.

    โ€œWe donโ€™t want to alienate those who do use tobacco, and if thatโ€™s part of their culture, or they enjoy it, we donโ€™t want to ostracize them and want to embrace cultural diversity,โ€ Ruggles said.

    Health risks aside, whether someone wants to smoke or not is their right to choose. The new regulations on campus will benefit those who are concerned about exposure to secondhand smoke and will hopefully allow those who do smoke to have flexibility about where they can do so.

    The changes in the stateโ€™s cigarette policy will also affect us as students and residents of California. According to the Los Angeles Times, the increased revenues from the higher taxes would help fund state health care and University of California health and cancer research.

    There are many reasons that this tax increase could potentially discourage people from smoking as many cigarettes. It looks like a positive step towards increasing overall public health by discouraging smoking altogether.

    This change in legislature shows a continuing shift in how we view cigarettes in our society. The increase in sales tax of cigarettes could cause fewer people to pick up smoking or entice smokers to quit. Only time will tell how these changes will make an impact or not, but it could result in better health for everyone, and for that reason we should show them our support.

    Samantha Chittenden
    Staff Writer
    Published March 18th, 2015