Libraries are for learning – not smoking

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Smoking is toxic. People don’t like the taste, the smell, and the disadvantages it has to your health. So why should those who choose not to smoke be forced to have their lungs filled when walking by?

Exams are here, literature reviews are starting, and some are getting ready to submit their dissertations. The library is packed. Many people travel through the doors on a day-to-day basis, and end up getting a face full of smoke from those who cannot read a sign or have the respect for people who would like to keep their health. The bottom line is that smoking is prohibited by law within any building, or under any covered area, falling under the definition of a substantially enclosed space. This includes covered quads, the spine, the underpass, and covered areas of Alexandra Square which includes the area in front of the library. Smoking is also not allowed in any covered area with permanent openings in the walls which are less than half the total area of the walls. If caught, there can be a fine of £50 to the individual, and a fine of £2,500 on the University.

Next time you walk by the library, take note of the many cigarette butts that are simply thrown on the floor outside and left for the weather – or, more commonly, for the cleaners to have to pick up. I have passed many times to see cleaners having to take more time than should be needed to clean these areas. The bins on campus have an area on top for cigarette butts and so should be used. Cigarette butts being thrown to the ground carries another fine for ‘envirocrime’ of up to £80. This is starting to become a lot of money.

It is not just the smokers that are to blame, the law also states that the area should be monitored for those who break the law, whether this is staff, police, or another authority. The library staff, for example, should start to monitor these areas so those passing through the doors can do so without having to hold their breath. Another idea is for ‘Design the Spine’ to provide designated areas that does not class as a smoke-free area, and so obeys the 2007 smoking ban.

I understand a lot of people smoke because they like it, or as it relieves some of the stress that certainly peaks around this time of year, but this does not mean they need to break the law when doing so. People are free to inhale whatever kind of ridiculous chemicals they please, but a little more respect for both non-smokers and the law would be much appreciated.

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