HigherEdMorning.comBanned on campus: A growing trend

Banned on campus: A growing trend

January 25, 2010 by Claire Knight
Posted in: Health, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views

With more and more focus on health, a number of campuses have jumped on the “ban”-wagon. What are more and more schools prohibiting?


Even universities in Kentucky, the nation’s largest producer of burley tobacco, are banning tobacco use on campus.

The University of Kentucky (UK) has implemented a tobacco ban that includes chew, pipes, cigars, snuff and cigarettes. What’s more, the new tobacco-free policy includes outdoor areas as well as interior buildings on campus.

Following UK’s lead, the University of Louisville has started restricting locations where students, staff and visitors can use tobacco on campus. The goal: to have a tobacco-free campus in one year.

In addition, Pikeville College has announced its campus will be completely tobacco-free by the fall semester.

University officials say they understand that tobacco’s an addiction, and many schools will provide nicotine-replacement products to helps staff and students kick the habit.

Where does your school stand on the tobacco issue? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • Paul Hamilton

    I’m not sure I concur with a tobacco-free policy which would include smokeless products. If the product does not directly impact my health, I don’t believe we should tell someone what products they should or should not use around others even if those products are known to alter mood; unless we want to consider regulating coffee, tea and coke, (and I am not ready to relinquish my grip on these products).

    However, it is long overdue to consider removing smoking products from the campus work environment. “Rules” established by our campus up until now, (don’t smoke within 15 feet of an entryway), aren’t uniformly policed or followed and provide no provision for gathering locations such as bus stops departing campus. Non-smokers should neither be transformed into police, nor subjected to the second-hand smoke which has now moved outside the office, but still in the work environment.

  • jim t

    that’s kentucky burley, not barley

  • Avi Rosenzweig

    Since the official position of the U.S. Surgeon General since 2006 has been that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure, the surprising thing is that banning secondhand smoke exposure hasn’t happened faster. Just the potential liability claims should have all institutions moving in this direction. There are laws against involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke because tobacco smoke does harm, and it’s harm that should be easy to avoid. Our campuses should be safe places to work and study.
    Note the sensationalism of couching this issue as a ‘ban’ or prohibition rather than a matter of public safety.
    Would one consider talking in terms of ‘banning’ public defecation such that it implies a limit on people’s rights?

  • Vic

    Our campus has a smoke free policy. There was one for several years that banned smoking inside buildings and “require” smokers to be at least 15 feet from entrances. Being a non-smoker I found that the our first policy helped immensely with both my health and comfort. I have not been ill as often as is evident by the build up of my sick time. It accumulated faster since the first policy was put into place. But did smokers stick to the 15 feet from entrances? No they did not. On cold or rainy days they were huddled as close as they could get and I don’t blame them but open the door and all the smoke came inside.

    Now to our “no smoking on campus”. There are shelters for smokers so they can smoke. But which ones actually use them; those that will follow the rules. Those that tend to bend the rules, etc. walk across campus smoking. The campus police don’t stop them and, if they did, what happens. Do they say they will be asked to leave the institution? Of course not. In my opinion it helps as there are many who understand and follow the rules but don’t expect it to eliminate smoking unless prepared to put penalties in place that can and are enforced.

    As for non-smoking products being covered well I can understand it. Remember, someone gets to clean up after those that chew and them spit. I have been around a few that chew and I definitely don’t want that job.

  • deb

    All I can to KY is – “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” I don’t know what % of $ in to KY is their tobacco crop, but I guess it is a lot.
    Wonder how IL would fare if we banned products that were made from corn and soybeans – some of which are as dangerous to health & environment as tobacco is.
    I have wondered why the Tobacco industry is targeted when the Alcohol industry causes many deaths too. WHat about obesity – are we going to ban all fast food places. Or maybe we will just ban those people that we think are obese from ordering the super-sized fries.
    thanks for the vent

  • Avi Rosenzweig

    To deb: You’re missing the important distinction between voluntary exposure to harm and involuntary exposure to harm. Alcohol consumption and poor dietary habits are bad for the person indulging, but smoking is bad for those who _are not_ smoking.
    Environmental tobacco smoke is not a matter of personal choice, it is a matter of toxic exposure like lead paint or flame retardant chemical treatment of furniture. Your super-size fries aren’t shortening my life span, but your cigarette butt is.

  • deb

    Ok, I understand that.
    I think buildings that the general public must go to (gov’t, schools, hospitals, stores, …) should not allow smoking inside to protect those from second hand smoke, but they can designate a place outside for smokers.
    However, I also think that owner of a business should have the right to choose if they want to be a smoking or non-smoking establishment – or if they want to designate a place inside or outside for smoking/non-smoking and post it so that everyone who goes there will know which it is. THen each individual can decide if they want to continue to go there or go elsewhere.
    Bars, Restaurants,…..
    I think smokers should be considerate of those who don’t smoke. But I also think non-smokers should also be considerate of others rights too.
    As long as tobacco is a legal substance, I should be able to choose to smoke or not smoke in my home, my car, and outside.

  • Cranky Old Man

    Although “tobacco free” is an excellent idea, why aren’t we attacking alcohol use/abuse which arguably does far more damage than an occasional whiff of tobacco smoke in the great outdoors?

  • Eric

    To Avi: Then what about automobiles and buses on campus. This affects the people not driving and is far more dangerous than tobacco smoke. Put yourself in a garage with a car or in a garage with a person smoking a carton of cigarettes; in which instance would you die quicker? And I am aware that asphyxiation is what causes death by automobile. I don’t believe smokers should be able to smoke indoors or by entrances and high traffic (people) areas, but I believe they should have a designated area if they choose to smoke. I quit smoking over two years ago and feel the campus wide banning is too harsh.

    Ban gas powered vehicles and equipment from campuses!

    [Automobiles: Pollution & Energy Use: http://bicycleuniverse.info/cars/pollutionpaper.html

    “Automobiles are responsible for a tremendous amount of air pollution and wasted energy. These problems impact people all over the world, both motorists and non-motorists alike, by affecting their health, their economies, and their communities. Legislation to address air pollution has been only partially successful, and air quality continues to be a major concern in countries all over the world. As for energy use, one can only hope that world leaders find a better way to address this problem than fighting wars over an increasingly shrinking supply of oil.”

  • http://uwyo.edu E.G. Meyer

    The City of Laramie, Wyoming where the University of Wyoming is located went smoke-free for all buildings public and private some 10 years ago. In the beginning there were objections and predicitions of business losses etc., but today smoke-free in public and private buildings is an accepted fact and none of the dire predictions have surfaced. E.G.

  • Avi Rosenzweig

    Hi Eric:
    I agree that personal automobile use should be discouraged in favor of lower impact means of transport, but note that a well-planned bus system reduces the total vehicle usage by getting more cars off the road, so I would distinguish personal automobile use (2 ton SUV to move one 150 lb. person?) from public or institutional systems.
    Note also that vehicle emissions are an undesirable side effect of their primary purpose — (relatively) fast transportation, while toxic emission is the main purpose of cigarettes.

    On the freedom versus safety aspect of this issue, compare it to gun ownership. I don’t want to give up my guns, but I also don’t want to worry about some agitated neighbor or co-worker or passerby having a bad day and going on a shooting spree or simply a careless moment. Therefore, I don’t want guns banned, but I’m very happy that carrying and brandishing and firing a gun is highly regulated.
    With freedom comes responsibility, so the freedom to smoke must be balanced by the responsibility to avoid exposing others to that smoke.
    “Oh, it’s just a whiff if you’re outside walking between classes”
    Compare that to “Oh, that’s just a .22 and it barely grazed your temple.”
    To paraphrase an early economist, a man’s right to smoke ends just short of my nose.

    To deb:
    I agree that people should be considerate, but they aren’t always so. If the neighbors are blasting their music at 2 a.m. when I’m trying to sleep, there has to be a rule, or law, or custom in place to say that 2 a.m. is quiet time or otherwise it’s just my preference for quiet versus their preference for loud. Who wins then? Similarly, if my preference for air free of smoke is competing with others’ for smoky air, there has to be a rule or custom or law in place in order to adjudicate these conflicting desires.
    Declaring a campus to be a healthy place to study and work establishes a ground rule that looks more favorably on the normal person than on the smoker, and this is necessary for instances in which courtesy isn’t shown.

  • Hugh R. Goaliebull

    For those of you who think that banning smoking outside is a good idea for public health:

    -Stop using toilet paper because it’s manufacture pollutes the environment (I live near a paper mill… 2 of them… oh, and they stink, too).
    -Stop driving cars (you’re killing me)
    -Stop riding busses (again, just a little slower… but that diesel smoke… stinks)
    -Stop riding your bike (my friend got severly injured by someone riding a bike)
    -Stop breathing (apparently your co2 release is warming the planet)

    Yes, people, just stay home. (And don’t use electricity or burn candles) because you are RISKING MY LIFE!!! I want to live forever, and you all are ruining it!

    Get a grip people.

  • Eric

    Hi Avi:
    I guess you haven’t stood by one of the buses on campus while it spewed out toxic fumes while it sat there for sometimes as long as twenty minutes. And my point wasn’t the general need to reduce automobile use, but to point out the hypocrisy in regards to their use on campus. And the main purpose of smoking cigarettes is for personal enjoyment not solely to produce “toxic emissions”. And why do you think guns were invented? Just to put in a safe? Here is an interesting article: [Carrying a gun increases risk of getting shot and killed: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17922-carrying-a-gun-increases-risk-of-get-shot-and-killed.html

    And your comparison between guns and cigarettes I hope was intended as humor. And that is my point. Regulation is ideal, not a ban. There should be designated areas on campuses for smokers and not a complete ban. And have you every seen someone going through withdrawal because they haven’t had their afternoon cigarette? What if this person was also a gun owner and found it infringed too much upon their rights? We could speak hypothetically all day long. The fact is that vehicles produce more toxins on campus than cigarette smoking (with the exception of the person doing the smoking)

    And is your water on campus filtered? [AP: Drugs found in drinking water: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-03-10-drugs-tap-water_N.htm And is your campus soda free? [Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/26/AR2009012601831.html

    My point being that most of us don’t live in a bubble and that an occasional whiff of cigarette smoke is less dangerous than sitting at a bus stop while being fumigated by carbon monoxide.

  • Avi Rosenzweig

    Like most ethical choices, public policy decisions are rarely a matter of good vs. evil but a matter of choosing among differing degrees of evil.

    With homeland security matters we are always trying to find a balance between freedom and safety, and in the same way we are always trying to choose between healthy living and not-so-healthy habits. Plenty of us go too far in one direction or the other, and there are advocates along the entire spectrum. One man’s ‘personal enjoyment’ is another man’s poison.

    Some go for the belt and suspenders approach, while others have their pants dragging on the ground.

    Our choices have costs for both individual households, the larger community, the planet as a whole, and future generations’ ability to meet their own needs and pursue their own pleasures.
    How do we decide to weigh those costs in particular cases?

    For Mr. Gullible above, it appears that the way to decide is to prioritize what he likes in the here and now for himself and his household. Others seem more willing to put a limit on their own consumption if they believe (rightly?) that giving up a moment’s pleasure or a minor habit will result in better (or less degraded) conditions for other people in other places and times.
    I reject Gullible’s use of the reductio ad absurdum argument in the case of smoking. Expanding the limits on involuntary exposure to toxic cigarette emissions does indeed curtail some people’s freedom,
    but as I said, another’s right to smoke ends just before my nose.

    To Eric: Continue with the homeland security comparison in this sense: the balance we arrive at in the case of fighting terrorism depends upon our sense of the urgency of the problem. When incidents are fresh in our minds, we are willing to put up with some inconveniences like being randomly selected on the entrance ramps at LAX for a brief car search. But when the problem is out of sight and out of mind, who doesn’t get miffed at being delayed by some guy in a uniform?

    Suppose that some people have a very different sense of the urgency of the problem of the effects of tobacco smoke than others do.

    In my own case, I stood by the bed of a 52-year old friend and chain smoker in the V.A. hospital as he took his last [wheezing] breath and died of throat cancer.
    The look in his eyes said “I’m so sorry this is happening” and I couldn’t help thinking to myself “It’s a little late now to be sorry, isn’t it?”

    What balance would I be willing to strike if I could rewind the tape of my friend’s life?
    Would I be willing to deny him the ‘personal enjoyment’ of cigarettes if it meant that he would be around to enjoy his family and friends for even just a few years longer?
    Yes, I would.

    I didn’t expect him to live forever, but if I could have had a few more years, that would have been more than what we got.

    Now, clearly, in our day to day living, we don’t confront the problem with the same sense of urgency, so i understand that we may feel the balance between health and habit may be struck at a different point.

  • Eric

    Avi you cannot let your personal feelings regulate the decisions of others. And why not take it to the next level and attack the dealers and not the users? I also have personal stories of people close to me that have died due to smoking. And some still living with lung cancer. But I also have friends and family that have died and suffered from heart disease due to poor diet, stress, and pollution.

    Negativity is contagious and stress may contribute to strokes. Should put laws in place that bans all mean people from public places? Or should we ban the Super Bowl?

    [Negativity Is Contagious, Study Finds: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071004135757.htm

    [Can Severe Stress Cause Stroke?: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001101502.htm

    [Super Bowl Stress Can Spark Heart Attacks: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/635738.html

    And you say you are for personal choice. Why is a designated smoking area not an acceptable solution?

    And another article reinforcing the hazards of automobiles: [Braking News: Particles from Car Brakes Harm Lung Cells: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091119193644.htm

    Believe me when I say that I wish to live in a utopia. Again I will ask why you prefer to demonize the user and not the pusher? And why not attack the movie industry and push for more education instead of isolating the “victims”?

    [Cigarettes in movies seen to cause teen smoking: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2144036520080821

  • David

    # Can college reject religious high school courses?
    A Christian high school claimed a university shouldn’t be allowed to reject high school courses it deems too religious. Did a court agree?

    clicking this link-
    # Can college reject religious high school courses?
    from this page-

    brought me to this page-

    any answers?

    Editor’s Response: To view the story, please go to http://www.higheredmorning.com/can-college-discount-religious-high-school-courses

  • http://bit.ly/9aLCXf Dalton Mccluney

    There are many counselling services, self-help products, and medications on the market today, so people who smoke , have more options than ever that can assist them quit smoking forever. A really cool gadget that will help you get over the physical dependancy, and it works, it helped me, are these vapor generating ciggerettes. You get the nicotine you may need and still have the effect of smoking. In case you are interested I did some research and found a free trial offer similiar to the product I used. You undoubtedly should try this out.

  • Robert E. Macomson, DDS

    Paul Hamilton,
    Your comment starting with, “I’m not sure I concur with a tobacco-free policy which would include smokeless products. If the product does not directly impact my health,…” seems to imply that you believe smokeless tobacco products do not impact a person’s health. Smokeless tobacco products have a severely adverse impact on human health. Some smokeless tobacco product users experience rapid impact while others experience impact only after long term use. Some users never experience adverse impact; every smokeless tobacco user seems to have one of these “Aunt Louise”‘s that “used dip tobacco all her life and lived to be 93″!
    What is the adverse impact? There are several but the biggie is oral cancer.
    Smokeless tobacco usage increases the tobacco companies’ income.
    Smokeless tobacco usage increases my income.
    Smokeless tobacco usage increases the income of my oral surgeon colleagues.
    Smokeless tobacco usage decreases your income.
    Smokeless tobacco usage decreases your lifespan.
    Any questions?

  • Paul Hamilton

    No questions, but a couple of comments…
    If you’d like to make a general comment, be my guest. If you’d like to use my comment as a springboard to justify your point, be precise; read carefully what you are commenting on; or get a dictionary. I can’t fathom any reason why someone would imply that I believe tobacco products can be used safely under any circumstances by my statement of believe that smokeless produces “does not DIRECTLY impact my health”.
    We have enough trouble with an apathetic campus police force who have no intention of enforcing our existing campus law requiring persons to smoke more than 15 feet from a building entrance, (and walking through their smoke or being forced inside my office to escape smokers most definitely has a DIRECT impact on my health and lifestyle!) Meanwhile, we have a Student Government who was more concerned with passing a bill banning public urination on campus, (taking away one more legal method of extinguishing illegal cigarettes), than a request to consider a total smoking ban on campus, (soundly defeated the same month). I would like to see enforcement of existing laws and codes and the enactment of new ones which protect my DIRECT health and safety before dictating behavioral changes in others which are none of my business.

  • http://community.mis.temple.edu/alalouf/2009/10/15/30 Ardath Munise

    I wasted money on cigarettes for a long time and giving them up was very hard. I tried all of the stopping tricks but nothing helped me stop. Then I discovered the e cig. The electric cigarette uses a nicotine liquid that holds only nicotine. No smelly smoke at all. Electronic cigarettes have completely improved my life.

  • Robert E. Macomson, DDS

    Paul Hamilton,
    Good points. I understood your original blog to mean you were using smokeless tobacco when you actually meant everyone using smokeles tobacco. You’re right, smokeless tobacco affects you only when you use it, much unlike smoking tobacco which affects even those not smoking it but are in close proximity to someone who is smoking it. My last two points should have read,
    Smokeless tobacco decreases its user’s income.
    Smokeless tobacco decreases its user’s lifespan.
    Thanks for the clarification.


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