Elizabeth Perry / Asst. Opinion Editor

Much to the alarm of one George Mason University smoker, there is no place on campus where one can purchase cigarettes.

The selling of alcohol, however, is permitted in a bar where students are free to drink on campus grounds.

Why would a university agree to have a substance as mind altering as alcohol available on school property, but prohibit the sale of cigarettes? The effects of cigarettes are far less detrimental to brain activity and response time than alcohol.

While it is true that tobacco is more dangerous to an individual’s physical health than alcohol, the threat of cigarettes to a smoker’s immediate safety and that of those around him or her is slight to nonexistent in comparison to alcohol.

There is no record of someone being injured or killed in a car accident caused by a driver’s overdosing on cigarettes.

There is, however, the proven statistic that 17,000 people are killed in alcohol-related accidents every year in the U.S.

Similarly, it would be preposterous for a woman to claim she was raped on account of being too buzzed from cigarettes to defend herself.

If anyone has ever woken up beside a stranger with no recollection of what took place the night before and thought to him or herself, “God, I must’ve smoked too many cigarettes last night” please write a letter to the editor because I would love to hear your story.

Excluding those who are diagnosed with lung cancer or emphysema due to their choice to not quit smoking, very few, if any, individuals have made substantially life-changing mistakes while under the influence of cigarettes.

People of all ages are arrested for drunk driving, being drunk in public and a range of other offenses committed while under the influence of alcohol.

Yet, somehow, Mason’s administration finds it appropriate to provide students with alcohol, but not cigarettes.

James Madison University has cigarettes available to its students on campus. Alcohol, however, is only accessible on school grounds in the stadium suites which students apparently rarely use.

Virginia Tech and West Virginia University, on the other hand, are on Mason’s side with the yes-to-alcohol-no-to-cigarettes policy.

By some logic, these universities have decided that a substance as commonly abused among college students as alcohol is appropriate to provide on school grounds, but supplying tobacco is not.

This article in no way intends to criticize alcohol consumption and certainly is not attempting to promote the smoking of cigarettes.

Having a bar on campus is certainly a benefit to Mason, as it provides students with an opportunity to drink socially and to do it safely on school property.

This is just an acknowledgement of our university’s willingness to make alcohol more conveniently accessible for drinkers yet refusal to have the same courtesy for cigarette smokers.

Justin Lalputan / Opinion Editor

There is no reason for George Mason University to change its policy on cigarette sales. We don’t sell them on campus and we shouldn’t start.

Of course there are economic benefits to selling cigarettes to students, but that does not mean we should start. There are a number of downsides to selling cigarettes on campus.

First, it encourages smoking on campus. Take a walk at night and you’ll see students smoking cigarettes, hookah and maybe something a little more potent, but they don’t purchase any of these on campus.

Imagine what would happen if they could. I’m not saying it would double the smoking population, and chances are it wouldn’t impact the large smoking population we have at Mason.

If someone doesn’t smoke, chances are sales on campus wouldn’t magically make them start smoking.
However, what it would do is increase the amount of smoking that takes place.

Smokers will be more likely to smoke more if they know there is a place closeby where they can purchase cigarettes. Right now, the closest place to buy cigarettes is the Sunoco down the street. Selling cigarettes on campus will only make our campus less appealing to both students and visitors.

As a non-smoker, I can’t tell you how annoying it is to be walking at night, and then hit a wall of smoke whenever I try to go into Starbucks.

Or when I’m walking to class and the person right in front of me is smoking and I keep walking directly into his or her cigarette smoke, despite my best efforts to go around it.

Occurrences like these will only increase if Mason decides to start selling cigarettes.

Some of the arguments for selling cigarettes on campus include that since Mason sells alcohol on campus, it shouldn’t matter if they start selling cigarettes.

This is dead wrong.

While it is true that Mason does sell alcohol at the Rathskeller, that doesn’t make it OK to start selling cigarettes as well.

The Rathskeller is a sports bar; what kind of bar doesn’t sell alcohol?

Since Virginia law now bans smoking in places like bars – unless the smokers have a different ventilation system than non-smokers – they won’t sell cigarettes there.

Secondly, since when did two wrongs make a right?

I won’t argue the fact that alcohol can potentially be just as bad as cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean that Mason should give students even more toxins to poison their bodies.

Cigarettes are horrible for a smoker’s health and they are annoying to people around the smoker. I applaud Mason for not selling them to students.

I’ve heard people say that they should sell cigarettes on campus. I think it’s ridiculous, and I have one question for them: What exactly are you people smoking?