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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Should Smoking be Banned at College?

A large amount of college students try smoking when they arrive at college because they were discouraged to growing up, and some then become addicted to it.

Recently other campuses in the South have decided to make the shift to a smoke-free campus. The University of Mississippi inducted a smoke-free policy in August 2012 and began enforcing it in January 2013.

“Student committee members went to the faculty senate and staff council to gain support for the smoke-free policy,” said Leslie Banahan, the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Mississippi. “We have had very few problems since full implementation of the policy.”

Banahan also said the Ole Miss’ Provost’s Office provided funding for cessation programs and medication to assist smokers with quitting. The University of Tennessee also restricted smoking with a policy in September 2011.

“There were a lot of complaints about secondhand smoke, so we have a health initiative, and we wanted to drive down health insurances cost for the people who smoke,” said Mike Herbstritt, a team leader in human resources at the University of Tennessee.

Herbstritt also said rules on smoking have gotten more and more restrictive due to how vocal people were in their opposition. In August, Auburn University implemented a smoke-free policy as well.

Several UA groups have already passed a smoke-free resolution. The Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Assembly and the Office and Clerical staff all support a smoke-free campus. UA Housing has drafted a smoke-free resolution for campus, and the College of Nursing has designated its grounds as tobacco-free along with the College of Community Health Sciences and the UA Recreational Center.

“Faculty, to professional staff, to students all recognize health benefits for our community for taking the next step, and they want to support the administration in making the decision,” Wilcox said. UA’s SHC discourages students from using tobacco products for health reasons. It also encourages everyone to call the Alabama Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-Quit-Now, which is a free, user-friendly resource.

“We try to put this information out about its convenience several times a year,” Wilcox said. Even though surveys have shown that not all students support the University being a smoke-free school, the petition allows students to voice their opinion.

“We always love hearing from students and understand that this issue is one students are passionate about, on both sides of the argument,” Foley said. After the petition is collected, a letter of smoke-free support will be drafted to the UA president on behalf of all organizations and individuals who favor the ban.

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