Feb 172005
 
Authors: Jennifer Johnson

CSU is a smoke-free campus on which students and faculty are not permitted to smoke within any building, but people are free to light up with no restrictions outside.

"CSU falls under the state policy which prohibits smoking in all Colorado government buildings," said David Kinkaid, environmental protection specialist at the Environmental Health Services.

However, state law allows people to smoke anywhere outside, including near doorways and entrances. Since CSU is a state institution, its policies align with state law.

The state policy for smoking was established in 1977, and it predates the Fort Collins ordinance passed in October 2003 that requires people smoking to stand at least 20 feet away from smoke-free buildings.

Gerran Damelio, sophomore GUEST student, is a smoker who does not obey the distance rules.

"I really don't obey," Damelio said. "On cold days there's no point in going way out there."

Even though Damelio does not always smoke at the Fort Collins regulated distance, the policy prohibiting smoking inside does not bother him.

"I don't really like smoking inside anyway," Damelio said. "I don't like the smell or the cloud (of smoke) surrounding me."

The smoke is outside, but it may be too close to the buildings for some people on campus.

"We have received complaints and concerns about this issue," Kinkaid said. "Primarily faculty and staff complain due to sensitivity of tobacco smoke and health concerns regarding secondary smoke."

Although Kinkaid feels that the smoke intake is usually short in duration, stricter smoking ordinances at CSU could have positive health benefits.

"If stricter policies were to be enforced at CSU, we would first need approval from the university board of governors," he said. "Once the policy was put into effect, the CSUPD (Police Department) would need to reinforce it."

Kinkaid said if stricter smoking regulations were put into effect at CSU, some students and faculty members might feel that their civil liberties were being infringed upon.

"Legal consideration would also need to be taken in order to make sure this would not cause problems among the students and faculty who smoke," he said.

Kinkaid said in the past he has had to investigate issues concerning individuals smoking inside buildings.

"This is a very rare occurrence," Kinkaid said, "If this happens, we have to educate the individual on the state smoking policy and if cooperation is not taken, we need to take action against the violation."

Rebecca Frager, a senior wildlife biology major, does not feel that many students smoke near campus buildings.

"I don't feel bothered by students who smoke near buildings, but I think it's because I just don't notice it," Frager said. "If I did notice it though, I think it might start to bother me after awhile."

Frager is a nonsmoker, and even though the smoke does not bother her, she thinks a distance ordinance may be a good idea for state officials to consider.

"It would be good as far as health risks to consider putting stricter smoking ordinances into effect at CSU. However, it could impose on the rights of those who do smoke," she said.

Deb Morris, the director of health education at Hartshorn Health Service, feels that the smoking ordinances at CSU are sufficient to protect the general health of the campus community.

"I do think some better regulation of smoking directly in front of entrances and under windows create some risk," she said. "Maybe moving the receptacles for tobacco products away from the main thorough fares would help. Although no tobacco products are sold on campus, I do think that smoking at entrances may be an environmental issue."

Overall, Morris feels CSU promotes a healthy environment, allowing people to walk and ride bikes without any problems.

"Through my experience, tobacco users are all pretty polite. However, it is the few who aren't that create an issue with smoking," Morris said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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