UA bans smoking on campus

UA bans smoking on campus

The University of Alabama has banned smoking on campus, including Bryant-Denny Stadium, effective Jan. 1, 2015. CW | Pete Pajor

The University of Alabama will become smoke-free effective Jan. 1, 2015

An emailed statement sent to students Tuesday said "smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, will be prohibited in all facilities, grounds and parking areas on the UA campus."

The Faculty Senate, the Professional Staff Assembly, the Office, Clerical and Technical Assembly, the Black Faculty/Staff Association and the UA Association of Residential Communities passed resolutions in support of a smoke-free campus, according to the email.  

Colleges and universities across the country have established smoking bans as an effort to fight potential health effects from second hand smoke.  

According to the emailed statement, the University joins more than 1,400 colleges and universities across the country that have become smoke-free. 

Students have mixed opinions on the smoking ban.

"I have mixed emotions on it because, yes it will prevent people from being exposed to secondhand smoke, but at the same time, the University is supposed to be public property, and people pay tuition to go here, and so those people may be having their rights infringed on," said Abigail Ratliff, a non-smoking sophomore majoring in marketing. "I think it is very progressive, which is great, but as far as the students and the faculty that do smoke, where are they supposed to smoke?" 

Anderson Turner, a non-smoking freshman majoring in elementary education said she thinks a majority of people will not like the new smoking ban.

"I don't think people will like this, because I think some people feel they have the right to smoke wherever they want to," Turner said.

Kathleen Giddens, a non-smoking freshman majoring in business, said she feels the smoking ban will not be effective.

 "I feel that this makes people want to do it more," Giddens said. "When you're told not to do something, it kind of triggers your desire to do it. People shouldn't be told not to smoke if it’s legal."

 Zac McMillian, a senior majoring in management information systems, led the smoking initiative on behalf of students.

“I led the initiative from the student side, ensuring that the student body’s will and opinion were properly represented at all levels of the decision making process,” McMillian said. “I coordinated efforts with health professionals of the Student Health Center, deans of the colleges and leaders of the Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Assembly, Office, Technical, and Clerical Staff Assembly and the Student Government to ensure that all parties of campus were fairly represented and able to express their concerns with the proposal."

 McMillian served as a liaison between the smoking ban and the students.

“This move is meant to provide a safe, healthy environment for all those who walk onto our campus.  Everyone deserves an equal shot at academic success every time they step foot on the grounds, and a clean environment is a necessary step in achieving that goal,” McMillian said. “Throughout the process, I made sure that the student voice was heard in every single meeting, be it among faculty, staff, medical professionals or even the SGA.” 

McMillian said he hopes this move will help place students’ health at the top of a priority list.

The statement goes on to report, "The University is confident that both smokers and non-smokers will be cooperative, responsible and understanding during this time of transition as the campus-wide policy takes effect." 

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