Let’s Clear The Air

– Tobacco products will go up in smoke with Kent State University’s ban

After nearly twenty years of working to ban smoking in certain areas on campus, Kent State University will become a smoke-free, tobacco-free university on July 1, 2017. According to campus literature, “The new university policy (3342–5–21) aligns with [Kent State’s] university-level initiative to create a healthy campus environment and to prioritize the health and wellness of students and employees.”

Let’s Clear the Air: Kent States Tobacco Free Initiative

The policy will cover all Kent State campuses, locations and properties, both domestic and international, such as the Florence, Italy campus. There will be no discrimination about who can or who cannot smoke on campus. All students, staff and visitors alike will be prohibited from smoking on Kent State University property. This ban will also include smoking in one’s own vehicle while it is parked on university grounds.

The ban not only eliminates typical cigarettes but also prohibits electronic smoking devices, vapor cigarettes and oral tobacco products. All nicotine and tobacco products will not be allowed.

According to the university policy:

“The success of this rule relies on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers alike. Any student who repeatedly refuses to abide by this rule may be referred to student conduct. Repeated violations by any faculty or staff member shall be handled through normal employment procedures for violation of university rules and procedures.”

This policy has both students and staff discussing the personal effects of this ban, and it seems the campus is divided.

Junior, regular smoker, Victoria Bucci said, “I’m not happy about [the ban] but I understand it; [however], it is going to suck having to walk through campus hiding my cigarette while smoking, [the ban] will work for like a week but I don’t think it will last very long.”

Professor Tim Roberts even explained that he is lucky he works in Franklin Hall, because he will be able to run across the street to Starbucks and smoke there, when he can no longer smoke on campus.

Other students believe this ban will be a step in the right direction involving student and staff health and wellness.

“I think that it gets rid of a huge nuisance, also it’s more respectful to other students who do not smoke,” said Kelly Cunningham, sophomore, non-smoker. “I’m not gonna have smoke blowing in my face when I’m walking to class on the Esplanade now.”

Other students, during a group discussion, came to a consensus that the university has no real way to enforce the ban, although they hope students will take it as a hint to be respectful of others when they smoke.

“It’s a courtesy thing to not smoke on campus, but the big issue is when people are smoking right in front of the door” said senior, Sarah Euler. “There is already a 20-foot radius policy and people don’t follow it when it is cold, so it can’t really be enforced”.

Kent State isn’t the first college campus to enforce a smoking ban. According to Ohiohighered.org, “the number of campus smoking bans has increased nationally by more than 2,000% in the past six years.” Now Oklahoma, Arkansas and Iowa-public and private universities have state laws prohibiting smoking on campuses, with that number expected to rise within the next few years.