The Daily Gamecock

Letter to the Editor: Tobacco Free USC wanted by many

Editor’s note: The writer misidentified the 13.8 percent statistic as the number of smokers on campus. According to Healthy Carolina’s Tobacco Free Initiative facts page, that number refers to students who reported smoking cigarettes in the last 30 days. It does not include hookah or smokeless tobacco, and therefore doesn’t represent the full population of students affected by a tobacco ban.

I would like to raise some important points that were not covered within Ross Abbott’s ridiculous attempt to undermine USC.

The decision to ban tobacco from campus was not simply an administration decision. There was a petition created, which more than 500 students signed.

While you may think that 500 is a limited sample size, please consider that this is only the people the petition reached in a short amount of time, the fact that the exact number is not specified, as well as the fact that the number of smokers on campus is estimated to be 13.8 percent of the student body.

The ban is not simply a ban on breathing in or smelling that god-awful smoke. If you walk up the Bull Street hill past South Tower, please look in the rocks that line the sidewalk right under the ledge. The entire thing is filled with hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts.

No one, not incoming freshman, faculty and staff, current or prospective students, want to see that disgusting site. If USC is serious in supporting green initiatives, then no, Mr. Abbott, they did not make the wrong call.

Please also note that nowhere in the ban did USC ask smokers to try and quit. That is of their own accord and free will to do so. They are not saying that you are never allowed to smoke cigarettes again, only that you do so off-campus.

I implore Mr. Abbott and anyone else who shares his opinion to check the facts on the Thomson Student Health Center website.

— Jessica Parker, second-year business student