After joining more than 700 colleges across the nation as a tobacco-free campus, students and faculty have spoken out on potential issues and benefits the policy has to offer.
“So far, I’ve only seen issues regarding what areas are technically on campus and which are not,” said Sallie Scovill, the employee wellness coordinator. “I’ve only received a couple emails in which homeowners are wondering where they can put up signs to educate violators on the policy.”
Aug. 25, 2014, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point instated a policy prohibiting use of tobacco products on campus. Surveys of students, faculty and staff showed they were against maintaining the previous policy allowing smoking in designated outdoor areas.
“I understand why they don’t want smoking in the dorms, but I don’t think it’s right to say that students can’t smoke anywhere on campus,” said business major Alexandria Ford. “If I were to see someone smoking on campus, I definitely wouldn’t say anything.”
This is where enforcing the policy can be difficult. Scovill said they are in the process of creating discrete cards people can hand out to anyone they see smoking on campus. She said this could give students and faculty an idea of how to approach the situation without feeling confrontational.
“I think it’s important to put a more positive spin on this,” Scovill said. “Instead of trying to enforce a smoking ban, just simply inform people that this is a tobacco-free campus.”
Chewing tobacco and cigarettes may not be the only thing clouding up campus.
“I don’t really have a problem with smoking on campus,” said biology major Andrea Schneider. “But I have seen some people smoking e-cigs in class, and that can be pretty distracting.”
Jen Sorenson explained the biggest concern with electronic cigarettes is how little is known about the chemicals involved. She said the Food and Drug Administration has not deemed them safe yet. Therefore, they are included on the list of prohibited substances.
“I’ve seen people using e-cigs in the DUC,” Ford said. “But I don’t feel like they’re a problem unless I start seeing them regularly indoors.”
Scovill urges students to check out the tobacco-free campus website listed on the Student Health Services webpage. The page features recommended scripts to use when talking to people about the policy along with a map of campus to know where tobacco use is prohibited.
“I’ve noticed how much cleaner campus is without all the cigarette butts,” Scovill said. “Representing an environmentally-friendly school, I think this policy gives our campus a better image.”