On-Campus Designated Smoking Areas Ignored
Campus Not Quite Smoke Free
September 15, 2005 1:51 PM
Lighters and matches are still firing up cigarettes all over campus despite SF State's no smoking policy – but not to worry – “the lollipops are coming.”
In August of 2004 President Robert A. Corrigan announced that SF State would become a smoke-free campus, with the exception of nine designated areas. This came after the Academic Senate approved the policy in April of 2004, “in the interests of the health and well being of non-smokers and smokers alike."
In his announcement Corrigan said, “The success of this policy will depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers.” He placed the success of the policy on the shoulders of the students – but a year later the policy can hardly be called successful.
“I know I’m not supposed to be smoking here,” said 20-year-old nursing major Tung Nguyen as he sat smoking outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center. “I know that there are designated areas on campus but no one says anything to me when I smoke here.”
Another student smoking nearby said that she’s been smoking all over campus and no one has ever instructed her not to.
“I haven’t had anyone come up to me telling me that I wasn’t allowed to smoke here so I just smoke wherever I want,” explained psychology major Elyse Santana, 22, after taking a drag from her cigarette.
The fact that no one stops them from smoking outside the designated areas was a common response from most students when asked why they continue to break the rule. A lot of smokers were aware of the designated areas around campus, but said they found them too inconvenient to walk to. As long as there are no repercussions, they said, they’ll stop for their nicotine fix anywhere on campus grounds.
According to Captain Molly Borja of the university's Department of Public Safety, preventing students from smoking outside the designated areas is not the responsibility of campus security.
“The smoking policy is enforced by Environmental Health and Occupational Safety,” Borja said. “People receive tickets when they violate the law. Smoking in non-designated areas is not a violation of the law; it is a violation of university policy.”
Since campus police are not enforcing the policy, and students are not taking responsibility themselves, there has to be some other way to make the campus smoke-free.
Enter the lollipops – the first of several ideas conjured up by The Smoke Free Task Force.
“We don’t want to force smokers to stop smoking,” said Sheila McClear, director of special projects in the president's office. “But we want to do everything we can to minimize the smoking on campus. I know we don’t have anyone walking around telling students not to smoke but don’t worry, the lollipops are coming.”
The Smoke Free Task Force was formed in June of this year and consists of 13 members from the faculty and staff. The goal of the task force is to “change the culture” on campus, making it so that students are aware that it’s not okay to smoke in non-designated areas.
“When the policy first went into effect we were hoping for voluntary compliance from the students,” said McClear. “I think initially there was a great deal of enthusiasm. Later we realized that it was not going to be that easy.”
Over the summer the group brainstormed some ideas to revise the visibility and awareness of the policy around campus. In the past months the task force has put no smoking signs all over campus that show where the designated areas are located. They have also placed benches, ash trays and signs in the respective places.
In the following months they are planning to set up smoking awareness tables in key areas such as the BSS courtyard and near Café Rosso. They have also ordered large quantities of lollipops that will be distributed by members of the GatorAiders along with any other students that want to volunteer.
McClear said that the lollipops taste pretty good and that she is sure students will really like them. If the lollipops are a success then students will be able to trade in potential lung cancer for cavities.
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