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Smoke Signals: Students and faculty weigh-in on the tobacco-free campus debate

November 20th, 2014

Students voted against the proposed campus-wide tobacco ban during the Student Union Executive Board election on Nov. 5 and 6.

 

From the 782 votes cast on the ballot issue, 413 or 52.81 percent of students voted against the initiative, while 369 students or 47.19 percent voted in favor of it. The implications of the ballot decision are not yet clear. In the ensuing weeks, Student Union senator senior Sam Braun will present a piece of smoking legislation based on the decided public opinion to the assembly. Editors Note: This information was compiled in the Nov. 13 issue by Campus Editor Mary Frances McGowan.

 

 

In  favor  of  the ban:

– Interviews by Brittany Ramsey

 

Megan Dzurec

Coordinator of Health Promotion & Wellness

 

Question: “What is your stance against the tobacco ban?”

 

Answer: Currently, John Carroll University has a campus-wide policy that prohibits smoking in all buildings on campus and within residence halls. Ideally, a tobacco-free campus would be progressive and preferred. I think it’s unfortunate that the recent ballot issue resulted in slight support to keep the policy as is. To me, the issue is still important, and the election results do not necessarily represent the student voice, since the majority of students didn’t even vote.

 

Q: How do you think the ban would impact campus?

 

A: Becoming tobacco-free is a great public health initiative, and implementing a new policy would create a healthier campus environment. According to our recent National College Health Assessment (2013), approximately 87 percent of our student population leads a tobacco-free lifestyle. Only about 2 percent of our students are daily users of tobacco products, which, to me, indicates that a tobacco-free policy will be supported and appreciated by the majority of our students. We need to focus on the health rights of the non-smokers at JCU. Additionally, about 25 percent of adults became smokers once they arrived to college. A tobacco-free policy would drastically inhibit this from occurring among JCU students.

 

Q: Do you think new tobacco legislation is necessary?

 

A: Absolutely. When Issue 5 passed on the Nov. 7, 2006 ballot, Ohio became the 12th state to protect the public from exposure to secondhand smoke in public places. Thankfully, we no longer have to tolerate smoking occurring in the restaurants we visit or within the buildings we work. Unfortunately, we do not have the same protection from secondhand smoke throughout campus, as many of us are forced to walk through clouds of smoke as part of our daily routine.

 

 

Emily  Mapes

JCU senior

 

Q: What is your stance on the tobacco ban?

 

A: I support a tobacco-free campus. There are three states which prohibit smoking on all collegiate campuses, and the number of campus smoking bans has increased nationally by more than 2,000 precent in the past six years. As an academically prestigious Jesuit university in Ohio, I believe John Carroll University should be setting the example for Ohio campuses. If Notre Dame College, Miami University, and Ohio State University have officially made their campuses tobacco-free, why should JCU wait any longer?

 

Q: How do you think the ban would impact campus?

 

A: I believe the ban will impact campus in a beneficial way. First and foremost, as a member of the Peer Health Advisory Program at John Carroll, we promote a healthy lifestyle and provide resources to students to seek improvements in their mental and physical health and wellness. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. I know I speak for John Carroll University when saying that I do not want our students to become another statistic. Placing a ban on tobacco use would hopefully decrease the overall amount of student and faculty use, and over time, save lives.

 

Q: How do you think it would benefit the community?

 

A: No comment.

 

Opposed to the ban:
– Interviews by Laura Bednar

 

Sam Braun

JCU senior

 

Question: “What is your stance on the tobacco ban?”

 

Answer: I am against a complete ban on tobacco. The main reason I am against the ban is because it infringes on people’s right to choose. Everyone has natural rights and they should be able to [smoke].

 

Q: How do you think the ban would impact campus?

 

A:I think there wouldn’t be much of an impact. There would be potential negative effects on surrounding communities [when] students had to leave campus to smoke. Secondhand smoke would affect another community. Megan Dzurec talked with Student Union and said that the ban wouldn’t be policed and would rely on the Good Samaritan policy within the university.

 

Q: How do you think the ban would benefit the community?

 

A:If students know that they can’t smoke, then it would make them think twice before using tobacco.

 

Q: What do you think the disadvantages of the ban would be?

 

A: It takes away people’s rights. The ban is overreaching [by including] cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and tobacco. I don’t think there are any secondhand dangers to an individual because of these things.

 

Q: What do you think about the current 50 feet policy and do you think it is enforced?

 

A: If it was enforced it would be beneficial. I have seen several instances where people stand right outside of a building and smoke. We need to work with the University to enforce policies that are already in place and implement new policies to have designated areas on campus [for smoking].

 

Q: Do you think new tobacco legislation is necessary?

 

A: I think that there should not be a complete ban on tobacco and it should still be permissible. New legislation is necessary and should make the voice of the student heard.

 

Larry   Cima

Professor in the economics and finance department

 

Q: What is your stance on the tobacco ban?

 

A: The ban is just mean. It is not right to force people not to smoke by a majority vote. Bungee jumping is dangerous [like smoking is] but somehow smoking tobacco is politically incorrect.

 

Q: How do you think the ban would impact campus?

 

A: The impression I get is that not very many students smoke. I do not think it would have much of an effect.

 

Q: How do you think it would benefit the community?

 

A: I think it would harm the community. The community has too much power over the individual. [The ban] hardens the line of telling people what to do.

 

Q: What do you think the disadvantages of the ban would be?

 

A: A loss of freedom and individual rights. The country has lost its sense of individual freedom.

 

Q: What do you think about the current 50 feet policy? Do you think it is enforced?

 

A: I would like to see more evidence that 50 feet is a useful distance. I would like to see evidence that secondhand smoke has an effect on second parties. I do not see many students smoking, so I am not sure if it is enforced.