Smoking in college classrooms was once a familiar sight for many students, but now campuses are giving the habit the boot.
According to a Jan. 2, 2014 report from the advocacy group Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, more than 1,180 U.S. colleges or universities have adopted 100 percent smoke-free campuses. More than 800 of those 1,180 campuses are 100 percent tobacco free.
According to a USA Today article on the report, the increase in the number of nonsmoking campuses is a result of state governments passing smoke-free legislation and schools protecting the health of staff and students.
The University is not a smoke-free campus and has a set smoking policy. The policy states that it is “prohibited inside all buildings including public areas, private offices and residence-hall rooms of University buildings.” The policy also states that “although all smoking is discouraged, receptacles will be placed in outdoor areas on campus where smoking might occur. Periodic reviews will be conducted to ensure that passive smoke does not become problematic in an outdoor area.”
Director of Public Safety Donald Bergmann said that although he cannot speak from a direct University stance on the issue, his department expects people to police themselves.
“I think for the most part it’s not a major problem; people are aware of the rules and they don’t smoke in buildings. They don’t smoke in University vehicles and they typically smoke 25 feet away from a building,” Bergmann said.
The movement to ban smoking on campus periodically becomes a topic of discussion and is brought to Bergmann’s attention by Student Government.
Bergmann said that banning smoking on campus is an issue that probably will not go away and banning it could lead to a larger issue.
“I can tell you from experience with other universities that once you ban smoking on campus you are pushing it somewhere else,” Bergmann said. “You’re going to displace the problem.”
The decision to ban smoking on U.S. college campuses is influenced by a number of reasons. Inhaling second-hand smoke and the improper disposal of cigarette butts are among them.
Senior Ryan May, smoker, said that he understands why colleges are moving to smoke free campuses, but said that it should be permitted if smokers are respectful.
“It makes sense for colleges to ban smoking. As long smokers aren’t blowing smoke in people’s faces and are putting their cigarette butts out in the right places then it should be okay,” May said.
Junior Nicole Riley, a non-smoker, said that she does not have an issue with smoking on campus, but said it could be a problem for faculty and staff.
“I can see having a ban on campus since teachers bring their kids here and you wouldn’t want them breathing in smoke,” Riley said.
Although smoking has decreased in recent decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 42.1 million, or 18.1 percent, of all U.S. adults continue to smoke.
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