Snuffed Out: Smoking ban takes effect on University of Alabama campusBy Katie Shepherd and Nick Privitera | 01/07/2015 6:53pm
The University's smoking ban took effect on Jan. 1.
As University of Alabama students return from their break and go back to class, a new smoking ban will be in effect across campus, including all facilities, grounds and parking areas.As students return from their break and go back to class, a new smoking ban will be in effect across campus, including all facilities, grounds and parking areas.
The ban took effect on Jan. 1 and will remain indefinitely. According to the University’s non-smoking policy, “Smoking is prohibited at all times and at all locations.” The University also describes smoking as, “inhaling, exhaling, burning, carrying or possessing any lighted product, including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and any other lit products, and the use of electronic cigarettes or similar devices.”
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 all passed resolutions to ban smoking so that the community can be healthier as a whole.
This new policy makes The University of Alabama one of approximately 1,400 universities nationwide to go smoke free, though it is one of a few to include e-cigarettes as well.
Cathy Andreen, the University’s director of media relations, said the policy was implemented out of concern for students’ health and safety.
“The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is one of the highest priorities for The University of Alabama,” she said. “As a result, over the past two decades, the University has taken steps to help protect the campus community from the dangers of second-hand smoke.”
There has been some questioning among students as to how this new policy will be enforced. As of now, the burden falls upon the UA community to hold each other accountable and ask those who disobey to comply with the policy.
“There are no current plans for a fine or other penalties,” she said. “We expect the vast majority of people will comply with the policy as they do in most places that are designated as non-smoking.”
Andreen said students can find out more about the enforcement of the new policy at ua.edu/smokefree.
As it is addressed on the website, Andreen said she encourages students to assist each other in implementing and enforcing the policy.
“If you witness someone smoking, we would ask that you make them aware of the policy and ask that they not smoke on campus,” Andreen said. “Our emphasis is not on penalties, but on creating a healthy campus environment.”
In addition, Andreen said the University offers assistance to students who wish to kick the smoking habit.
“The University offers help to students who want to quit smoking through the Student Health Center and to faculty and staff through the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness,” she said. “The University will offer two sessions of the QuitSmart smoking cessation program this month at no cost to students, faculty and staff who would like to start the new year as a non-smoker.”
Andreen said students who wish to participate in the QuitSmart program can sign up through the Student Health Center tobacco page and faculty and staff can sign up through the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness.
Some students said they are satisfied with the new policy, while others said there are some flaws in its implementation.
“I think the smoking ban is a good thing, but it doesn’t seem completely fair to the smokers. The University should have put one designated smoking area,” said Isaiah Byrd, a non-smoking freshman majoring in mechanical engineering.
Some students said they believe making it more difficult to smoke on campus will give smokers a reason to quit and also protects others from second-hand smoke, creating a healthier community.
Steven Hood, interim vice president for student affairs, said he has received largely positive feedback from students since the announcement of this new policy.
“The feedback that I personally have received from students has been largely positive,” Hood said. “It is our hope that students will hear the message about personal and public health that is being addressed through smoke-free campus policy.”