Students debate citywide smoking ban

A proposed citywide smoking ban that’s been tabled indefinitely won’t be debated by the South Bend Common Council any time soon.

But, on Friday, it was debated in an area classroom.

Students at New Tech High School weighed-in on the hot topic as part of a three-week long health project.

They all agree smoking isn’t a smart choice, but are divided on whether or not South Bend should be a smoke-free community.

“You shouldn't smoke, but I also stand on the side people need to make profit and if you want to do, that you should be able to,” said sophomore Tuiler Middleton.

The students aren’t even old enough to legally smoke, but lit up during the debate Friday.

They were tasked with discussing the pros and cons of a local smoke-free ordinance, which was proposed by council members like Valerie Schey before being indefinitely tabled.

“I'm with the smoking ban, I think that it should not be allowed in bars,” said sophomore Santiago Migliaro. “If they want to smoke, they can go outside.”

New Tech P.E. teacher Chad Wetzel says students had to put together a research paper before the debate, backing up their stance with evidence.

He hopes the health project taught students not only about the negative effects of smoking, but about the positive impact of using their voices.

“A couple kids asked me, ‘Does anybody care what they think?” Wetzel said. “I kind of want them to know this is their city and they have a say in it. So, I kind of want them – after this is over – to hopefully get involved in the actual debate and maybe even go to a city council meeting.”

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