Don't call it a smoking ban, call it a more restrictive policy. As of January 1, 2014 Volunteer State Community College will be a tobacco-free campus with a few exceptions.The new policy will prohibit the use of tobacco products on a majority of the campus.
Products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, and even smokeless electronic devices will not be allowed on campus, but may be used in designated parking lot areas. The rule is that you must be fifty feet from the building and use a proper receptacle for disposing of tobacco products.
As expected, there are a lot of opinions on campus regarding the ban, so I decided to get both sides of the issue.
Michelle Buckles, a sophomore at Vol State, likes the idea.
"I'm happy about the smoking ban on campus. I don't want to be unfair to smokers, but it is hard to avoid the smoke. Especially at entrances of buildings. Maybe it will be motivation for smokers to quit", said Michelle.
When asked if she thought that the new restrictions were a violation of rights, she replied: "If there are designated areas then I do not think that it is a violation. Non-smokers can have smoke- free paths to enter buildings, and smokers can still smoke in areas allowed."
There are plenty of people who disagree with the new restrictions.
Vol State student, Joseph Robinson, smokes and dips, and disagrees with the new bans that are being put in place.
"I feel like the system they have set-up now is effective. I do not think they should change it if it is working. I do not see cigarette butts on the ground, or people at the door smoking."
"I also do not think that dip should be included in the ban", he added.
I asked Joseph is he believes his "rights" are being denied.
"To a degree. It could be worse, I am glad that they are not banning it completely. You only have ten minutes to between class, how can you enjoy dipping in ten minutes?", said Robinson.
Many of those I talked to think that because smokeless tobacco or even the e-cigarette does not produce harmful fumes that the products should not be included in the ban. The college says e-cigarettes were included due to the current FDA debate on their safety.
I am personally not a big fan of the current smoking policy. There are some people who do not follow the rules and throw their cigarette away as they are entering a building. I think having designated areas away from entry ways to buildings will be a positive change and hopefully will promote a healthier campus.
And remember, this is not a complete ban. Smoking will be permitted only in parking lot areas 50 feet away from all buildings.
Here is a link to the new policy