I’m sure majority of us Mountaineers have been oh so blessed with the chance to walk through the infamous cloud of cigarette smoke that surrounds the entrance of Eisland Hall, and other lecture halls alike. It’s like walking through a giant roll of fog on a beautiful morning, except not the slightest bit as refreshing…and may cause cancer.
As stated in a Wellness Newsletter, West Virginia University put a new tobacco-free policy into effect this past summer on Monday, July 1, 2013. The WVU Board of Governors approved this switch to a tobacco-free campus in June 2012, which had formed from a previous decision in 2010 for a tobacco-free policy made by the Health Sciences campus.
“The WVU tobacco-free policy will extend to all premises owned, operated,
leased or occupied by WVU. This includes Milan Puskar Stadium, the HSC PRT
station and WVU property adjacent to the HSC campus. Also, use of tobacco in
personal vehicles while on WVU property is prohibited.” -Newsletter
Below are three different tweets I stumbled upon. Students like Megan and Walter support the smoking ban and feel as if this policy needs to be monitored better by WVU authoritative figures. On the other hand, some people don’t mind and are making funny, yet inappropriate jokes about the tobacco-free policy using the WVU Speak’s hashtag. Yikes, kids these days. That hashtag was actually created for the speak-up event hosted by SGA in October which allowed students to voice their opinions and ideas about the policy, but of course leave it to that kid to add a little unnecessary grunge to the topic.
Like many students have voiced, the ban on smoking hasn’t really made much of a difference whether people smoke on campus or not. As a student myself, I get sick and tired of walking to class only to be basically crop-dusted by the person in front of me with huge puffs of their cigarette smoke; however, some people really don’t seem to mind it at all. Morgantown residents are seeing things a bit different and noting unfortunate changes due to the passing of this policy. WVU students and staff now bombard resident-owned yards and sidewalks to get their fix in the mornings and in between class, causing some local families daily lives to be altered due to crowds of people producing heavy smoke. This ban is creating more and more issues as the days go by, but can there really be a “fair” line drawn? Smoking bans will forever have pros and cons in the eyes of smokers and non-smokers.
“I’m not saying people can’t smoke, I’m just saying they can’t smoke on campus. I don’t want to take away their personal rights, but we want this to be a healthy campus, and from a grass-roots effort, a majority of people came out and said ‘Please pass this policy.'” –University President James P. Clements tells DA reporter
There clearly needs to be some way to better enforce this policy on these little rebels walking amongst us, or things will never change–well, change 100% at least. Perhaps designated smoking areas should be created so yards aren’t invaded, while the campus sidewalks and buildings are more heavily monitored? Just a thought, though time will only tell how this policy holds up with this wild college town.
If you’re a smoker and want to help implement a healthier environment for our campus, cessation programs are available to employees and students that help you quit at your own pace. Employees are eligible for those programs free of charge (or reimbursable by insurance), while students can enroll in these programs through WellWVU.