Home Campus Island breezes will include smoke, vape for time being

Island breezes will include smoke, vape for time being

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Image courtesy of lolga Akmen/AGENCE-FRANCE-PRESSE-GETTY IMAGES

JENNIFER CORTEZ
REPORTER

 

Walk around the Island, and you may find a cloud that is low and smelly and produced by a good percentage of the university population.

This cloud that is talked about is made up of nicotine and tobacco. Now in some cases, the clouds will be blown right into people’s faces and it can inflict second hand smoke to non- smokers. Some students will go to great lengths just to make sure they can get their nicotine break, and in  so doing violate designated smoking rules. Previously some students and faculty may not have been aware of designated smoking locations, but now there is no excue.  Recently, the universtiy sent everyone on campus an official email about designated
smoking and vaping.

“The use of tobacco products, smoking and/or simulated smoking material (e.g. e-cigarettes) is prohibited, except in designated areas, in and on all university properties, residence facilities, university vehicles, and athletic events,” according to the University Rule.

This rule is referred to as 34.05.99.CI Tobacco, Smoke, and E-Vapor Free Environment. Originally, cigarette ash bins must be at least 25 feet away from an entrance to a building. However, there are some students who will bring those ash bins next to a bench right next to the front entrance to Bay Hall. This is one of the issues that brought upon the new smoking policy.

This proposal was suggested by Administrative services with the help of the Student Government Association. Delaney Foster, coordinator of Student Engagement, discussed how this topic came to the forefront two years ago when this proposal was reinstated.

“One of the biggest regards that came to us and SGA was that there were no designated spots for the people who want to smoke,” Foster said. “In the time that it has been brought up, many of the students and faculty suggested  benches and umbrellas to sit down and enjoy their smoke time.”

Foster said another thought that came to mind was the question of whether or not the Island University could be a tobacco free campus.

“In all probability, we could be tobacco free in about 10 years maybe,” Foster said. “We have tried to offer as much help as possible by offering some counseling and when we were tabling, we offered free patches to help with cutting back the addiction, but not a lot of people want to cut back because they think they can do it on their own. There’s so much you can do. But if the people who want to quit smoking need help, they are more welcome to come to us to get the help.”

While Foster said the idea of becoming a tobacco free campus appears beyond our reach right now, there are more universities who are adopting a zero tobacco policy. Some include Baylor University, Stephen F. Austin State, Texas State, Texas Christian, University of Texas – Austin and University of North Texas. These are just a few of the larger universities in Texas that are opting to become tobacco free.

Becoming tobacco free can come with many benefits, especially for the people who experience second
hand smoking.

Abigail Hernandez, a junior communication major, was one of the concerned students who has a strong opinion about smoking on campus.

“I would say smoking on campus disrupts the atmosphere of the community, Hernandez said. “There are designated spaces, but you still know when someone has been smoking. It’s a distraction and hazardous to everyone’s health.”

Cassandra (June) Scheick, a junior sociology major associated with the Student Government Association, commented about  how some students react to vaping and smoking in general areas.

“I had heard some students complaining about vaping in buildings or walking outside and smoke being blown in their face,” Scheik said. “One recent instance was that people were moving the bud disposals be the doors of buildings and away from the designated areas, possibly for convenience sake. But this still cannot be allowed because it is not 25 feet from an entryway.”

Nonetheless, these Islanders said students and faculty should be more mindful of each other when it comes to smoking and vaping.

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