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ASU smoking ban sparks cigarette giveaway

Students for Liberty Students for Liberty
Carlos Alfaro Carlos Alfaro

A smoking ban on all four of Arizona State University's campuses has students fuming.

The group Students for Liberty calls the rule a form of "nannyism." Members handed out free cigarettes to students who signed their petition to stop the ban.

Group leader Carlos Alfaro isn't a smoker.

"I think cigarettes are detrimental to your health, we understand the health issues that come with smoking cigarettes. It's bad," he said.  

But he wants everyone to be able to have the choice to smoke on campus.

"It's not just about smoking. We believe that it's a whole philosophy about nannyism," he said.

Alfaro believes if this choice is taken away from students, they're vulnerable to having other liberties taken away from them.

Students for Liberty collected signatures that tell ASU to drop its tobacco-free position. The ban is set to go into effect next August. The students who signed it got a free cigarette.

"I smoke one sometimes before my first class, usually between by first and second," said ASU junior Elizabeth Jeschke. She doesn't believe the ban will kick in, but if it does, she said it would be hard to enforce.

"Last time I checked, this is a public campus and we live in America," she said.

The school already doesn't allow smoking within 25 feet of a building. Some students say they're looking forward to more restrictions.

"Some people, they walk while they smoke, so when you're walking behind them the smoke gets right in your face. It's very nauseating.The smell is just awful. Some people ignore the signs that are outside the building that say you can't smoke here," said ASU sophomore Jasmine Sanchez.

An ASU representative sent CBS 5 News a statement that reads in part, "A tobacco-free campus would contribute to better health, increased productivity and decreased use of sick time, and result in decreased maintenance expenses for facilities and grounds."

Alfaro said the group doesn't have a target for the number of signatures it wants to get, but the hope is for thousands. He said once they feel like they have enough, members will present the signatures to school officials and the student government so they can talk about other options instead of a full-on ban.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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