CULTURE: Smoking or Non-Smoking?
By swizzmin on 14 Oct
For the four or more years that students are at a college, which often becomes their home away from home, do they have a right to smoke? Or do they have a right to breathe clean air?
Although Rollins has not yet made an official decision, the college is hoping to see how students, faculty and staff feel about becoming a smoke-free or tobacco-free campus.
Recently, the communities of Winter Park and Orlando have been contacting businesses in the area to create a no-smoking policy, including Rollins. Other states, like Wisconsin, New Jersey and Illinois, have all implemented 100 percent smoke-free policies on college campuses through state laws.
Statistics such as one from no-smoke.org, which indicates an approximately 30 percent smoking rate among college students, makes the topic hard to ignore. There has been an increasing “trend across the United States” to “move to a smoke-free campus initiative,” said Maria Martinez, assistant vice president of Human Resources and Risk Management and a member of the committee addressing smoking on campus.
In addition to the trend, the administration has “heard complaints about litter and second-hand smoke” over the years. These two issues have caused Rollins to bring the topic to the community for debate.
The committee will provide a review to the administration which will include the opinions of the various groups on campus. If a change is made, no one is expecting it to be quick or simple.
More than 100 colleges have gone smoke-free, including nearby institutions like University of Florida and Valencia, and they all know from experience that the switch is a process.
The change at Rollins, if there is one, would not be done between today and tomorrow but over a period of months, if not a year or more. There would be a transition period promoting overall health and detailing ways to quit (hotlines, materials, nicotine gum and patches, etc.) before any official changes would be implemented.
Rollins has not made a decision yet because it “first wants to find out what faculty, staff and students think about these issues,” said Martinez. During the first week of October, a short online survey will be released to all members of the campus community, which will provide them with four options involving leaving the smoking policy as is or in some way restricting smoking or tobacco use on campus. “We don’t want to make an instant decision … we want to look at the issue,” Martinez said.
If a new policy were created, the method of enforcement is currently undefined, but according to Martinez, the committee has been considering a “self-monitoring challenge, not a matter of campus security ticketing people.” The idea would be that students would monitor each other by stopping one another when they see someone breaking the rules.
“It [smoking] affects the community around the smoker,” said Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Brent Turner, another member of the committee. “It is no longer an individual decision. By bringing the issue to those impacted, Rollins creates aculture of community respect.”
By Annamarie Carlson
The Sandspur * Rollins College