USC shouldn't use health excuse for cigs

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

To the editor:
The results of the Mustang Alley cigarette referendum are in. The question posed to Western students was: “Should the USC-operated retail store, Mustang Alley continue the sale of cigarettes?” By a significant majority, the ‘No’ side won, 3,832-2,727.

I voted ‘Yes’ and quite frankly I am surprised at the results. Well, not quite surprised; I saw it coming. I guess it would be more accurate to say I am disappointed.

People often fail to differentiate between what their personal views and opinions are and how those views should be imposed on others.

First, let me make one thing clear: I am a non-smoker. I have never smoked a day in my life. But does that automatically mean other legal adults should not be allowed to make their own decisions? Absolutely not.

I understand there are health issues, but it’s not the university’s job to act as a babysitter for students and force them to make healthy choices.

Cigarettes are bad for you " wow, that’s the surprise of the century. What’s next? Are we going to stop the sale of chocolate or pop or french fries because they can lead to obesity? Are we going to stop the sale of coffee at Tim Hortons because it can lead to a caffeine addiction?

Oh, and I almost forgot " we have on-campus bars that sell alcohol! I guess we should shut those down too. Give me a break!

Mustang Alley, if you’re going to ratify the results of this referendum, please do not use the health rationale. That would be arbitrary and hypocritical.

I’ve heard Mustang Alley doesn’t sell many cigarettes, so if you’re going to stop selling them, please make it publicly clear that it is for economic reasons.

That way, you’ll hit two birds with one stone: not only will you be giving a rational reason for this business decision, but you will also be fulfilling the apparent majority’s desire to forcefully control the private decisions of students.
"Logan Ambrose Rathbone

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