Mar 092011
 
Authors: Courtney Stuard

Listen up smokers, this is for you!

The Associated Students of CSU passed a bill on March 2 that gives Senate the power to form a committee to investigate the effectiveness of smoking policies at CSU. This committee will examine current policies and implementation, with the goal of possibly enacting a campus-wide ban on cigarette smoking.

As justification for the investigation of smoking policies, ASCSU included a recent student survey in the bill. The survey reported 6 percent of participants said that smoking ordinances were not properly enforced on campus, and 59 percent said they felt campus would be a healthier environment if smoking were prohibited.

However, just 44 percent of students who participated in the survey, said that smoking affected them on campus. The majority of students surveyed said that smoking did not directly affect them. Therefore, instituting a campus-wide prohibition of smoking on campus is a dramatically overstated solution to a problem that has a simple solution.
Consider the implications of outlawing smoking on campus. Smokers, staff and students alike, will have to walk off campus to legally light-up. It is unreasonable to ask students who take two or three consecutive classes with 10-minute breaks in between, to walk approximately one mile to exit the campus to smoke.

Although many people do not appreciate the aroma of cigarette smoke, that does not give ASCSU justification for imposing restrictions on individuals who partake in those tobacco products. Nor does the argument that cigarette smoke adversely affects those with asthma, because current smoking polices if properly enforced, would eliminate smoke from areas frequented by non-smokers.

If legislation is presented that will outlaw smoking on campus, staff councils, health networks, CSU Police Department, etc., will not have a chance to vote on the matter, even though each will take an active role in contributing information to the committee formulated for investigation.

Also, students will not receive a direct, democratic vote, and therefore will have to rely on their Senators (most students do not even know who their representatives are) to make the right decision regarding the bill.

Rather than completely banning the use of cigarettes or other tobacco products on campus, the university should enforce the current smoking policies or modify them to include designated smoking areas dispersed throughout campus. Current policies include a prohibition on smoking within 20 feet of “any entrance, passageway, operable window, or ventilation system,” under section 8 of the Campus Operating Services and Regulations Guide. Under the current policy, it is not mandatory to post signs about the smoking restrictions. Perhaps it is the case, smokers may not be aware of the regulations and break the law unintentionally.

In order to appease both smokers and non-smokers, proper signs should be posted in warning of the current policy. If more smokers knew of the policy, they would likely become more conscious of the laws and non-smokers.

Furthermore, it is the responsibility of CSUPD to enforce regulations so that they are effective. Enforcing the laws would make walking around campus and into buildings safer for students who are concerned about the effects of second-hand smoke. We have all witnessed the skill of the campus police when it comes to writing parking tickets. Why not divert a little energy from doling out parking tickets and put it toward enforcing smoking ordinances?

Smokers must respect the right of non-smokers to breathe fresh air, and non-smokers must respect the right of smokers to enjoy a cigarette. ASCSU should not consider an outright ban of smoking on campus, because current policy, if properly enforced, provides adequate protection for non-smokers.

Courtney Stuard is a senior journalism major. Her column appears on Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letter@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:24 pm

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