In defence of the smoking ban | UNB
University of New Brunswick est.1785

Global Site Navigation (use tab and down arrow)

100th Anniversary Edition

The Alumni News | Fall 1975

An Opinion Feature

ALUMNI NEWS MAGAZINE | 100th Anniversary Edition

It's my world: In defence of the smoking ban

I am very happy about the recent action passed by the UNB senate to revive the ban on smoking in classrooms. As dean of the faculty in which the curriculum content will emphasize the maintenance and promotion of health, I am pleased to see the senate composed of so many members of the scientific community and from the humanitarian disciplines, move in the direction of implementing some research findings as well as humanitarian principles in our home environment. 

The positions which follow are presented for these reasons: 
(1) some faculty members (even in senate) and students (even juniors and seniors) have been asking in my hearing why such a policy has been adopted; 
(2) some faculty members are promising to reopen the issue in senate as possible "infringement on the rights" of faculty members; they may mean it; 
(3) no provision has been made for the enforcement of the ban as stated;  
(4) the position that «individual professors may expect seminars (from the non-smoking policy) at their discretion is not sufficient protection for non-smokers. 

I believe that evidence of some consistency on the part of their professors is a reasonable expectation on the part of university students. 

I am hearing many statements to the effect that the research evidence is not sufficient basis for a no-smoking policy, at least for the individuals speaking. Some people say that they are interested in the "quality of life" -- not in the length of life, not in the freedom from disease and debilitating conditions as life progresses. This line of reasoning heard on a university campus usually leaves me speechless. 

If the quality of many of our lives has become dependent on constant artificial vasoconstriction, and on something warm and round in the oral cavity most of the time, then I think we should be very guarded in our description of the poverty of resources of other cultures and peoples. If you have observed as close range the 10-15 year struggle for adequate oxygen which consumes the energy of many emphysema patients, or the lingering painful end of most patients with lung cancer, you might also recoil from the term "quality of life" when used as a defense of smoking.

I can hear the exclamations pointing out the large number of doctors and nurses who still smoke and I would have to agree that this is also very sad and inconsistent situation.

A credibility gap exists here, and any time there is a credibility gap it seems to be followed by a corresponding gullibility fill. When workers in health fields ignore the research findings in their own specialized areas, patients and observers seem to conclude that the research findings must be doubtful or inconclusive or these informed health workers would not ignore the serious implications in their own lives.

It is observable and notable, also that those physicians specializing in fields where the results of smoking are more dramatically demonstrated, as in cardiology and internal medicine, usually have personal practices in keeping with the recommendations they make to others, I am reporting here the views of a few local physicians whose opinions I requested this month on the topic considered in these columns. 

Dean of the UNB faculty of nursing 

Read more of 100th anniversary edition