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Editorial

Possibility of UW-River Falls becoming tobacco free campus catalyzes debate, controversy

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April 13, 2012

The issue of allowing tobacco on campus has long been an issue at UW-River Falls as well as other campuses all over the United States. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), whose slogan asserts “Defending your right to breathe smoke free air since 1976,” there are at least 704 completely smoke and tobacco free campuses in the U.S.

Three states have adopted policies that have completely banned smoking and tobacco on all college and university grounds: Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma.

Chancellor Dean Van Galen’s advisory council on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs will be hosting three one-hour open forums to discuss the possibility of making UWRF a tobacco free campus. The main purpose of the forums is to gather input and generate discussion regarding a possible campus tobacco free policy, with each forum starting with a short presentation of information and data.

Each of these forums are open to students, faculty and staff. The forums are set to be held from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 16 in room 120 at South Hall; 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 1 in the Kinnickinnic Theater at the University Center; and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 2 in the Blanche Davis Theatre at the Kleinpell Fine Arts building. Contact Alice or Keven at Student Health and Counseling Services at 3293 for more information.

The American College Health Association (ACHA) strongly encourages campuses to ban all tobacco and smoke products, in an effort to encourage individuals to quit using tobacco all together.

We here at the Student Voice do not condone the use of tobacco products by any means, but we do believe that it should be the students’ right to decide whether or not they will use tobacco. Herein lies the issue of civility—UWRF adopted the 25- foot rule as an attempt to compromise. However, far too many students complain about others not complying to the rule and smoking wherever they please. The Voice wishes to once again reiterate how important it is to comply with the 25-foot rule. An alternative option would be to create designated, remote smoking areas for those who wish to continue to smoke on campus.

We urge students to attend the chancellor’s open forums and voice their opinion on this issue.