We’ve all walked through a cloud of smoke on our way to class at one time or another. As most students already know, Radford University is not a smoke-free campus. Students are allowed to smoke outside on campus as long as they are 25 feet away from buildings. However, some students still smoke relatively close to buildings.
This week, we asked students whether they knew what a smoke-free campus was (a campus where the use of all tobacco products is prohibited) and whether they thought Radford should be a smoke-free campus. The majority of students we talked to expressed annoyance at being forced to walk through others’ smoke clouds while on campus. However, they also viewed the issue as something that doesn’t have much of an effect on them otherwise and said they were fine with Radford not banning smoking on campus completely. But other students believed that Radford should be a smoke-free campus or there should be designated areas where smoking is allowed. When asked how the university would enforce this smoke-free policy, some students were unsure. But others had ideas: some said the rules or restrictions could be implemented at Quest so students would know from the start what the policies were. Some said the university should treat cigarettes the same way as alcohol—that is, taking tobacco products from students if they are seen using them or charging them a fine.
If Radford does ever become a smoke-free campus, it will be interesting to see how they try and keep it that way. Perhaps they would use some of the tactics that the students we talked to thought of; it would be interesting to see if the ideas work. But one student had a point: “People are going to do what they want to do no matter what, so it doesn’t really matter [what the policies are].”
There’s nothing like walking through a cloud of second-hand cigarette smoke early in the morning. Really, there’s nothing else like it. Many on campus who don’t smoke cigarettes are constantly exposed to quick puffs of smoke blown in their faces as they try and walk to classes. It can sometimes be hard to voice an opinion about it though, seeing that smoking is allowed on campus. This can quickly become a controversial issue.
There’s a need to protect those students and employees at RU from exposure to secondhand smoke. Even e-cigarettes cause discomfort for those with allergic reactions and asthma. Some would like to create an expectation that their living and working environment is smoke-free.
According to tobaccofreecampus.org, Oct. 1 of this year makes over 1,000 campuses smoke-free. The goal of this group’s initiative is to make 100 percent of campuses tobacco-free. The only way to do this is to change the way that we think about tobacco products and cigarettes. Obviously, it’s old news that they’re bad for you. However, that doesn’t stop the sellers from depicting them as fun, sexy, or dangerous.
While navigating Tobacco Free Campus’s website, you can choose to join the challenge and see what regional opportunities there are to help out with this smoke-free initiative. On the home page at the top of the website, you’re greeted by this statement: “Looking to make your campus tobacco-free? Already tobacco-free but need to improve compliance? You’ve come to the right place.”
If this so-called initiative were to take effect at RU, would electronic cigarettes be taken in to account as well? They have about as many problems to go with them as regular cigarettes. They can harm and cause unpleasantness for those around them. Not to mention, they release smelly chemicals like aerosol and other chemicals that can trigger asthma attacks to those that are around them.
The mayo clinic has said this about E-cigs: “Electronic cigarettes and nicotine inhalers both deliver nicotine to your body without tobacco. But that’s where the similarity ends. The two are quite different when it comes to how they’re used and how much doctors know about their safety. Nicotine inhalers are a proven safe and effective way to help people stop smoking. In contrast, very little is known about the health effects of electronic cigarettes … Also, no convincing evidence shows that e-cigarettes are useful in helping people to eventually stop smoking.”