Good intentions pave the way for a cigarette-littered path.

Does Stony Brook want less smokers? Obviously it’s just healthier, but banning them outright is just fucking dumb.

It’s dumb because it doesn’t work, not every smoker will quit just because it’s a tiny bit inconvenient. Actually, it’s not inconvenient for the smoker, it’s inconvenient for the janitors who pick them up, the squirrels who eat them, and even the non-smokers who have to step over them. The smokers just dump the butt on the ground, rather than dumping it in the trays that used to be on campus.

Banning smoking may have sounded good on paper, but it falls apart in practice. Once the initial plan was put in place a few people may have quit smoking, but for the most part it got worse because the smokers just lost the one place where they could dump out their butts.

The whole initiative reeks of cynicism. Stony Brook’s administration wants to be tobacco free to advertise they’re tobacco free, even if the truth isn’t even close to matching the claim. It’s impossible to walk past the library without kicking and stomping butts, and the tobacco cessation support program offered by Counseling and Psychological Services is barely used by the student body. The 7-Eleven just off-campus offers easy access to packs upon packs of smokes.

Professors continue smoking in flagrant disregard of the rules. One specific professor sits on the fountain everyday and smokes a cigar, telling any complainers that he “doesn’t give a fuck.”

The University Police is impotent. They barely have the guts to speak to any smoker, much less the authority to reprimand them. No tickets, no consequences, and no change.

Either Stony Brook needs to go all in on this smoking ban, ticketing those who blatantly refuse to follow the rules, or come to a compromise with the many smokers on campus. An easy solution might just be a designated smoking zone with ash trays that are cleaned daily.

This needs to be a conversation, not a decree.