CSU student government mulls over banning smoking

Fifty-three percent of students and 63 percent of faculty and staff reported that they were likely to support a smoke-free policy on campus, according to a student government and university survey on tobacco use presented to the Associated Students of CSU Senate Wednesday night.

The survey, which was created as a follow-up to a small eight question survey that was distributed to about 2,500 students in fall 2010, consisted of approximately 30 questions and was distributed to about 4,499 students on campus and all faculty (6,000 people) in April 2012.

Of the people who received the survey, 805 students and 1,986 faculty members responded.

ASCSU is soliciting opinion on the issue as a way to begin discussions on whether they should ultimately push to ban the substance from campus.

Under existing rules, smoking is not permitted in any on campus building, and smoking outside campus buildings must take place at least 20 feet away from doors or ventilation.

“This survey simply shows that the health network and ASCSU are taking this seriously,” said Audrey Purdue, director of health for ASCSU, who conducted and presented the survey to Senate. “We want to look into this more before we take action.”

The survey asked respondents to describe their opinion of the existing policies on smoking on campus, whether they thought that tobacco use on campus was a problem, whether the litter from tobacco use was a problem and if the respondent would be greatly affected by a change in tobacco-use policy on campus.

According to the survey, 82 percent of students and 92 percent of faculty agreed exposure to secondhand smoke was a health issue. Fifty percent of students and 60 percent of faculty were concerned about the health consequences of secondhand smoke on campus.

About 63 percent of students and 75 percent of faculty said that it should be the responsibility of campus administration to enact policies that protect the campus community from secondhand smoke.

The results of the survey provoked many questions from the ASCSU Senate.

Robert Duran, ASCSU chief of staff, asked what comparable universities had enacted smoke-free and tobacco-free policies.

Campuses have embraced these measures in growing numbers, according to Purdue. More than 700 universities across the country are taking some sort of stance against smoking and tobacco. Washington State, Oklahoma State and Purdue University were examples, she said.

Cameron Doelling, an intra-university senator, asked about the type of action that would be spurred by the survey’s findings.

“We really need much more data in order to make a conclusion,” Purdue said. She added that she plans to hold several open forums in the spring 2013 to hear more student and faculty opinion before any position is formed.

Purdue said “we are nowhere close to making a decision” to push for a CSU campus that is completely smoke- or tobacco-free in the near future.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Carrie Mobley can be reached at news@collegian.com.