The smoke will soon be clearing from the corners of campus due to the recent progression of UVM’s smoke-free initiative. “I’m indifferent on the matter, but I can imagine that there’s going to be quite a few disgruntled smokers when that ban comes into play next year,” sophomore Abigail Earle said.
The University’s current goal is for campus to be fully tobacco-free by Jan. 1, 2015, according to their website. The University is going tobacco-free in an attempt to create a “healthier” environment for students, according to their website.
The goal is also to “protect” both smokers and non-smokers from the various health risks that both first and second hand smoking can experience, according to an email to students from Tom Gustafson and Jan Carney April 14. Gustafson is vice president of University Relations and Carney is associate dean of public health.
Despite this concern, many smokers remain “irked” by the prospect of not being able to “light up” whenever they wish.“I think it’s kind of futile, I mean I am a smoker, so I am not too happy about it obviously,” senior Jesse Arnaud said. “In New York they have a smoking ban there in beaches and parks and it doesn’t really work too well.”
Pharmacology professor Karen Lounsbury said she is “hesitant” to promote the ban be- cause she feels that “people should have the right to do what is legal.” She went on to say she believes that imposing the smoke-free ban on the whole campus “seems a bit impractical.” Lounsbury has been teaching cigarette toxicology at UVM since 1998.
“I think that the money going into the ban would be better spent on a health awareness campaign which informs students on the potential side effects of smoking rather than an outright ban,” she said.
The health concern comes from reports that 26 percent of UVM students who currently smoke started the habit after living on-campus, according to the University Benefit Advisory Council. Cigarette tar can cause immediate effects such as bronchitis and chronic heart disease, as well as long term effects caused by the mutations of cells which leads to lung cancer,” Lounsbury said.
Second hand smoke can also be “hazardous” to health, she said. Several students have com- plained about being subjected to this second hand smoke while walking across campus.“I’m very much against second hand smoke, and hate being caught behind a smoker on my way to class,” first-year Leah Ricitelli said.
While a smoke-free campus may benefit stu- dent health,it is also attractive to environmentalists.“It would be great to be able to walk through a rainstorm and not see a river of cigarette butts wash by and go right into the storm drain,” senior Matt Gargiulo said.