A Letter to UNH, who is proposing a tobacco ban

The Charger Bulletin

By John Kelly, Contributing Writer

Dear UNH,

Wednesday morning, I woke up and began my normal morning routine. I climbed out of bed, dawned my bathrobe, made myself a cup of coffee and packed a lip. When I my read email, I noticed one of the thousands of emails UNH sent out regarded a potential tobacco ban on campus.

This piqued my interested because I am an avid tobacco user. I dip tobacco; for those of you who do not know, dip is a form of smokeless tobacco that you place between your cheek and gums. It is very popular among baseball players, military members and rednecks. I have been dipping for three years now and it has become a part of my everyday life.

I am a Seaman (yes…Seaman) in the U.S. Coast Guard. I have dedicated myself to the service in defense of this great nation. Like most other service members, active or prior service, I enjoy my tobacco very much. A ban of tobacco would mean that I could no longer dip or enjoy a nice cigar on campus, where I currently reside. Like many of us, UNH is our home. We live here, go to school here, and have fun here. To tell an entire population of students and faculty alike that they cannot use tobacco, a legal product, is an insult. We are all adults here, capable of making the decision to use tobacco or not. I fully realize that dipping or smoking cigarettes is not a very healthy choice; it is a choice that us tobacco users have made. The idea to make campus a tobacco free place was most likely done in good faith with the intention of making the campus a healthier place. However, this decision impedes on people’s rights to make their own choices. If a tobacco ban were to be put into effect, smokers would have to go off campus to have a cigarette or cigar. They cannot even use an electronic cigarette, which is just water vapor and no smoke what so ever, indoors because the use of e-cigarettes (as they are called) have also been banned from use in buildings on campus. Forcing smokers to go off campus to smoke, especially at night, would pose a safety risk because this area is not the nicest place to be off campus. The idea of banning tobacco on campus seems very childish to impose on a group of adults.

Many students, tobacco users or not, are opposed to a tobacco free campus. The proposal was to ban tobacco from campus, but interestingly enough, the survey only mentioned smoking. There was no mention of dip, chew, snuff or other forms of smokeless tobacco on the survey. With that, I am not sure if the administration wishes to ban smoking or all forms of tobacco on campus. Nevertheless, they would be taking away a product that many of us enjoy, whether socially or on an everyday basis. This country was founded on tobacco; many of our Founding Fathers were tobacco plantation owners, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.

Furthermore, Connecticut is extremely well known for their tobacco, which is used for wrappers on premium cigars. Connecticut Shade Tobacco has been growing in the Connecticut River Valley natively when it was discovered in 1630. Tobacco put Connecticut on the map, now many Connecticut schools, including the University of New Haven, are trying to ban the very item that is steeped in state heritage. If this ban were to pass, you couldn’t even enjoy a Connecticut wrapped cigar (one of my personal favorites by the way) on campus. The American Revolution was started over a two percent tax on tea, now organizations are trying to ban legal products. Now, I am not by any means saying that we need to start a revolution over this issue, but we need to stand up for our rights and what we believe in. Continue to educate yourselves about this topic and defend what you believe in.

Very Respectfully,

John Kelly

P.S: I was packing a lip while I wrote this.