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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Law Says Don’t And It Means Don’t Be Tough A No-Tolerance Policy Would Diminish Smoking.

D.F. Oliveria For The Editorial

A bill that would ban smoking areas at Washington high schools has administrators wringing their hands.

A tougher anti-smoking law, they sniff, could force large high schools to hire more supervisors. Teachers, they whimper, would waste time tracking down student smokers. And, oh my gosh, they cry in unison, young smokers would quit school in droves.

Well, let them squawk.

School officials have winked long enough at the state’s no-smoking policy on high school campuses. By exploiting a loophole to provide smoking areas at school, they have undermined warnings given in health classes and have taught students to disrespect the state’s laws.

A bill proposed by state Rep. John Koster, R-Monroe, is needed to force administrators to show backbone and crack down on the Future Cancer Victims of America. It requires schools to ban the use of tobacco, post warning signs and punish violators.

Students have no more right to smoke on or near campus than adults do to light up after a good restaurant meal. Or on an airplane. Or in The Spokesman-Review building. Or in most other public places, for that matter.

If youngsters think they’re acting like adults when they light up, they deserve to be hounded - as adult smokers are. In fact, high schools would provide a valuable educational experience by collaring young smokers. They’d be giving the sullen teens a foretaste of what lies ahead for those who choose a life as a social pariah.

Young smokers need to feel what it’s like to go to great lengths to hide a nasty habit. Adults are forced to huddle together outside office buildings in the winter chill to smoke. Or to blow smoke away from non-smokers. Why shouldn’t teen wannabes be chased miles from school to do likewise?

Sure, some will sneak around, grabbing smokes in restrooms, cars and anywhere else they can - until they eventually are caught. And some will be expelled.

If area schools were forced to adopt a no-tolerance policy toward cigarettes, like they have toward drugs and weapons, the problem would diminish or disappear - quickly. A kid who’s old enough to decide to buy cigarettes and fill his lungs with smoke is old enough to weigh consequences.

Most kids will realize the value of an education far outweighs any pleasure in smoking a cigarette.

, DataTimes MEMO: For opposing view, see headline: The real issue is reaching kids

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria For the editorial board

For opposing view, see headline: The real issue is reaching kids

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria For the editorial board

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