Will CSU be smoke-free in the near future?

Several groups in a CO 300 course are advocating for a smoking ban to be implemented on the CSU campus.  At the moment the current smoking policy states, “University-owned buildings (including residence halls and apartments) are smoke free, smoking on campus is limited to 20 feet from building entrances, and smoking is prohibited in university vehicles.”

However, these groups do not want to go so far as to make the entire campus smoke-free, which would force smokers to leave the campus entirely for a cigarette, but rather ban smoking in the dismount zones that encompass the main traffic corridors on campus. In a tobacco survey sent out to students and faculty in 2012, 39 percent of students say they are exposed to secondhand smoke daily at CSU and 50 percent of students concerned about their health from second hand smoke.

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In 2011, a resolution passed to create the Campus Smoking Ordinance Review Committee and ASCSU is currently working closely with the CSU Executive Director of Health, Mackenzie Whitesell, and representatives from the Student Health Advisory Council to discuss revising the current tobacco policy at the school. There is no solid plan at the moment for a ban, but the idea has definitely caught the attention of different groups at the school.

CSU would not be leading the charge in creating a stricter smoking policy on their campus. Last month, The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation published a list of 1,127 campuses in the U.S. that have implemented policies to be 100 percent smoke-free; and that don’t include the campuses that have opted to have only certain zoning bans.

The support for the ban argues that our school claims to be ‘green’ campus and environmentally friendly, but how friendly is polluting our campus air and littering the ground with toxic cigarette butts? According to surveyed students about if they think litter from smoking detracts from appearance of CSU, 74.5 percent of those polled said yes. While we might clash in sports with CU Boulder, some say that they are showing us up in the green initiative with their prohibition of smoking on campus that started this past fall and designation of certain areas of campus for smoking.

One of the bigger issues that comes up in this conversation is that of rights. The fact that a person has the right to put whatever they want into their body. But what about every student’s’ right to attend this university and be able to have a healthy, smoke-free environment? In the same tobacco survey, 70 percent of students and 82 percent of faculty believe that a person’s right to clean air has a higher priority than a person’s right to smoke. Someone choosing to not smoke has no effect on others but the decision to smoke in a public and dense-traffic area sure does.

Unfortunately, ASCSU has been pretty mum on the issue that they are working on and more student involvement than a few surveys needs to be incorporated. There has been some discussion initiated by students who have started a Facebook page “Colorado State Students for Sensible Smoking Policies” and an online petition to ASCSU on Change.org. In the end, questions need to be answered and the idea of a ban discussed more publicly before any decisions are made.

Hanna Royals is a senior biology major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.