Lack of campus smoking policy enforcement sparks concern
April 18, 2014
In the November 9, 2012, editorial in the Student Voice it explains that the editorial board supports the UW-River Falls Campus Tobacco Policy. While we still support the policy, we realize that it is not being properly executed now that it is in place.
Now that the weather is warming up, having more time to enjoy the fresh air also gives more time for those who smoke, to take out a cigarette. Without any consequences, such as a fine given to those who break the smoking policy, students are less inclined to respect the policy that was put in to affect on July 1. In the past few weeks, the number of students seen on campus smoking has increased.
We understand that while the health of students and staff is important and it is their choice to smoke, those who do not smoke also do not want it blown in their faces as they walk on the sidewalks. The lack of receptacles for cigarettes to be placed in is also limited on campus, which increases the number of cigarette ends we see on the ground.
In a previous article in the Student Voice it was also said that the policy is essentially being implemented based on the honors system. If a student or staff sees a person smoking, it is encouraged for said person to remind the smoker that it is a smoke free campus. Needless to say, it is awkward and uncomfortable for students and staff to confront smokers who are not following the policy and it should not be only the responsibility of students and staff to enforce it.
With that being said, there are numerous ways that this policy could be implemented better or at least altered in a way that respects those who smoke and those who do not.
First, why not have a specific designated smoking area on campus? Not only would this give smokers a place to go to smoke but it give those who do not want to be exposed to secondhand smoke an option of avoiding the area.
A second option could be having fines given out to those students who are not complying with the smoking policy. This would create more awareness that this policy should be taken seriously.
The last option we suggest is to provide a designated smoking area for students who choose to smoke and then fine those who do smoke outside of the area.
We believe that the last option would be the best solution for this issue as it would give smokers a place to go other than off campus and it would also give those who do not smoke a place to avoid and not have to worry about having smoke surrounding them.