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Student opinions mixed toward smoking proposal

By Cynthia Marts


Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010

A UNCG committee “Task Force” is currently developing a new campus smoking policy to present to the Chancellor next month. This policy would essentially ban smoking within 25 feet of any campus building. Students so far have given both positive and negative feedback on the idea.

This proposal originates from new laws passed last summer by the North Carolina General Assembly, banning smoking in state buildings and giving universities the authority to enforce outdoor smoking policies.

This means that North Carolina schools can now prohibit smoking within 100 feet of any campus building. UNCG is not proposing a plan this drastic, but other schools have.UNC-Chapel Hill has announced its new 100-foot policy, and Winston Salem State is following close behind.

“A lot of different campuses are enacting these different policies,” said Jason Roberts, Wellness Coordinator and part of the Task Force. “I really don’t think this is going to be that big of an issue. I think non-smokers are going to be happy about it, and we’ll have a few smokers who will be upset by it.”

The possibility of this policy coming into action has gotten extremely mixed reviews from students, both smokers and non-smokers. While many see the health benefits for those who do not smoke, it is still seen as an unfair disadvantage for those who do.

“I think [the proposed policy] is completely unfair towards those who smoke,” said Thomas Rodenhizer, a junior and smoker. “Especially since, due to certain inclement weather, it would be very unpleasant to smoke in rain, snow, hail or god knows what else.”

Courtney Roberts is a non-smoking junior who sees the policy in a very neutral light.

“I personally don’t have a problem with people smoking, but there are people that do, and if they’re uncomfortable with it then I guess it’s a good thing for them,” stated Roberts. “I have a lot of friends who are smokers and I know this would probably make them, well, pretty annoyed.”

According to Roberts, the proposal arose from surveys taken from students that suggested secondhand smoke has become a problem on campus.

“One of the biggest things that came out of surveys that we have done is students saying ‘Well, I don’t want to go through other students’ smoke,'” Roberts explained. “So this is also a response to other students. It’s not that we’re punishing smokers. That’s not our goal; it’s not what we want to do. We’re just also trying to respond to other students.”

Many students, however, have not had a problem with students smoking on campus and do not see the policy as necessary.

“Smoking doesn’t really bother me,” said non-smoking sophomore Corinna Aman. “As long as people don’t do it in [my] face, and people here at UNCG are very respectful about that. With the proposal, I think they’re just trying to help everybody out, trying to appease everyone, and there’s really no way to.”

A common problem students have is the location that a 25 feet limit would place them.

“Well, look at each building and try to find what 25 feet away is.” pointed out Rodenhizer. “You’re going to be in the street in most cases.”

One suggestion from students, both for and against the policy, leans toward an alternate option for smoking areas.

“If they [would] give each building in the school a designated smoking area with a proper cover to prevent students from getting completely soaked if it rains,” suggested Rodenhizer. “That would be completely fine.”

Erica DiCarlo, a sophomore who also smokes, agreed.

“I can understand no smoking in school buildings-that’s understandable, but when you’re outside, that’s not,” said DiCarlo. “The policy is a really nice plan, but if they really want to do something like that, they need to build covered areas where people can smoke who want to smoke, but secondhand smoke will not be a problem.”

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2 comments Log in to Comment

Name –
Tue Feb 16 2010 12:10
This is the right thing to do! I don’t smoke and don’t advice to you to harm your health and pay for it!!!
john erkle
Sun Feb 14 2010 01:38
We all remember reading about alcohol prohibition,but did you know there was also tobacco prohibition going on before alcohol became such a target of the last nanny staters.
Our great grandparents lived thru prohibition and the great depression,they also lived thru tobacco prohibition.

Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

1930: hitler institutes laws against smoking.This one you can google.

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