Smoking policy changes not being enforced

Credit: Travis Wolfe/Photo Staff Credit: Travis Wolfe/Photo Staff

The maps are posted. The signs are up. The little cigarette butt receptacles are in plain sight. But is the smoking policy being enforced?

Of course not.

A common complaint among non-smokers is the walk to class behind a smoker — it’s quite irritating to breathe in someone else’s poison with no way to avoid it. In addition to providing a clean air environment for all, another goal of the smoking policy was to help eliminate litter — namely the cigarette butts that are often haphazardly tossed to the ground — from all over campus.

The changes to the smoking policy underwent a great deal of debate in the past year. Committees that were composed of a diverse group of students and staff were formed to debate the changes to the policy that were being considered, as well as to decide upon the new areas where smoking would be allowed. After a preliminary period of time where students were warned when they were not obeying the new policy but not fined, the changes went into effect permanently.

Previously, we strongly speculated that once the school year began and the “new” smoking policy were fully enforced, very few would actually obey the new regulations willingly. We also predicted the lack of repercussions that would ensue for breaking the smoking policy.

It is true that University Police has been a little preoccupied with handling a different threat to our campus’s health, though with the swine flu subsiding (hopefully), we wonder if the university will now turn its focus to this smoking issue on campus and continue with its campaign for a healthy campus in 2010.

And if the university is going to focus on the newly enforced policy, more needs to be done than posting signs in a few locations around campus. An effort needs to be made to ensure that the campus community is well educated on the policy and all that it entails, and the fines that are mentioned on the signs dotting the campus need to be actually enforced.

We hope that the university’s attention will be turned toward enforcing the policy and setting a precedent for the future, and we look forward to experiencing a clean air campus and keeping our lungs healthy in the future.