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Student Senate at the University of Northern Colorado conducts survey on smoking regulations

By Suzanne Evans
On October 14, 2013

  • Cigarette butts collect in a trash can on campus. Maeve Wildmann | The Mirror

Lighting up has always caused a fiery debate when it comes where people can and can't smoke. That debate recently came to the University of Northern Colorado when the Student Senate began collecting surveys regarding student interest in a campus-wide smoking ban.
A smoking ban on campus would mean just that: no one would be allowed to smoke on UNC grounds.
According to Kaitlyn Lundeby, Director of Student Affairs for Student Senate, DATE (Drug Alcohol Tobacco Education) asked her predecessor to conduct these surveys.
"We have been
See Smoking on page 8
facilitating surveys through tables set up around campus, and talking to various students to have them fill surveys out," Lundeby wrote in an email. Senate has collected about 300 completed surveys.
No action has been formally proposed, however.
"Student Senate is not trying to pass any initiative, nor are we even discussing the possibility among the directors or in the meetings," Lundeby wrote. "We are facilitating discussion among students and trying to hear their opinions. Upon receiving student input, we will decide where to go from there."
UNC's current tobacco regulations prohibit smoking in most areas on campus, except for designated smoking areas. However, many students and even faculty disregard these rules.
"No one follows the current smoking rules," said Brent Foley, a junior secondary education history major. "You're not supposed to smoke within 20 feet of all the dorm entrances and no one actually follows that."
Foley, who does not smoke, said he supports a smoking ban on campus, but also said he believes it would be overreaching of Student Senate to impose such a ban should the surveys lead to action.
For non-smokers, the ban would mean having to put up with less tobacco smell on campus, but plenty of non-smokers oppose the ban as well.
"Even though I don't smoke, I still feel that banning that completely around campus is a little too much," said Nicole Haberman, a sophomore theatre studies major. "I just feel like, they're not allowed to smoke inside, so if they're outside, I feel like it's not a big deal."
For smokers, however, the ban would mean extra travel time to have a much-needed smoke, along with some animosity between students.
Freshman psychology majors Raeslan Dikeman and Emily Riehl said they appreciate their time spent on campus smoking.
"I feel like banning cigarettes would cause a problem because there's a lot of students that smoke cigarettes and a lot of students that would be against it," Dikeman said. "Tons of people smoke cigarettes and a lot of them have a temper about that kind of stuff, so they'll be like, 'Oh you can't ban cigarettes, that's not right, blah blah blah.' I think people just need to learn respect and the ban won't be necessary."
Dikeman gave examples of how she is a respectful smoker by following UNC's regulations and not smoking around people who don't want her to.
"I smoke before I go to class, so it would (cause problems), because I'd have to leave a lot earlier to go smoke," Riehl said. "It would probably make me late a couple of times."
In August, the University of Colorado in Boulder became a non-smoking campus. A similar movement occurred at Colorado State University in 2012 but failed to make the campus completely smoke-free. Instead, CSU maintains a limited policy similar to the current rules in place at UNC.
Colleges across the country are beginning a march toward a smoke-free majority, but that won't affect the same decision at UNC, Lundeby wrote.
"We are a much different campus than both of those schools, so their decisions do not heavily influence ours," Lundeby wrote. "If students show interest in this, it may become something larger, but it will be because OUR students want it."

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