Just think of all the consumer products that don’t generate secondhand smoke that university officials can ban.
Smoking cigarettes is an expensive, smelly and costly habit that people are well advised to quit or not take up.
Given that, however, the University of Illinois’ new smoke-free campus policy comes across as over the top because it goes well beyond the smoke generated by tobacco products and targets smokeless tobacco.
Under the new campus rules — violations of which are punishable by fines — the banned products include chewing tobacco, snuff and dissolvables.
Vaping, of course, already was banned, even though it doesn’t generate smoke.
People should keep that in mind when advocates of the policy defend it on the grounds that “everybody has the right to breathe clean air.”
Breathing clean air is only a part of the plan. Expressing disapproval of other people’s vices is the other part.
This is a classic case of a good idea gone awry.
Few really object to banning cigarette smoking in confined public spaces, where nonsmokers were previously exposed to the secondhand smoke generated by smokers.
But, really, does someone smoking a cigarette in the middle of the Quad have anything approaching an adverse effect on others walking on the same Quad?
Defenders can cite the secondhand smoke generated by outdoor smoking. Even though it’s hardly noticeable, at least it’s smoke.
Now the zealots are into targeting smokeless products, mostly because they feel the need to enforce rules that govern other people’s lives.
Oh, well, c’est la vie in the modern age of moral preening. Even if it doesn’t really make anyone safer or healthier, it makes the rule setters feel good.