Let’s talk tobacco
Black-and-white images of movie stars in suit jackets or ball gowns sensually smoking cigarettes glamorized a habit that in the last decade has become less fashionable and more of a social stigma.
College campuses in particular are trending toward smoke-free environments. The number of smoke-free campuses has surged from basically zero to more than 700 within the last 10 years, according to The Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
Idaho State University implemented a smoking ban that took effect in September, and Boise State University’s policy has been in place since 2009. Although the University of Idaho has policies that restrict smoking on campus, it is the only university in Idaho that does not have a smoke-free campus.
Although smoking on campus has historically not been an issue at UI, ASUI found in a recent survey that between 67 and 77 percent of campus supports limiting smoking to specific areas. Between 27 and 37 percent of campus supports a complete ban on all tobacco products.
UI’s smoking policy states that smoking is not allowed in any buildings on campus except those permitted by the Director of University Residences. Smoking is also prohibited within 25 feet of buildings.
What hasn’t been an issue since UI opened its doors in 1892 is becoming a topic of increasing student interest as the discussion of tobacco use on campus flares up. Especially since UI is feeling pressure as the last higher education institution in Idaho to still allow smoking on campus.
Maybe you’re a nonsmoker who dislikes walking through a cloud of secondhand smoke on campus. Or maybe you’re a smoker who wants to preserve the right to light up a cigarette outside the Idaho Commons after a stressful test. Either way, it’s time to voice your opinion.
Should smoking be limited to specific areas on campus or banned entirely? And should the ban include all tobacco products or just cigarettes? Go to your student leaders in ASUI and approach members of the UI Faculty Senate with your views on tobacco use on campus. Ultimately, they will make the decision they feel is best for the university, but they need your input.
A compromise could be reached or smoking could be banned entirely. It’s the students’ university, so let’s be the ones who influence policies that affect our learning environment.