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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Potential Policy May End Smoking At WVU


Students' right to smoke cigarettes at West Virginia University may soon be coming to an end.
WVU has set out to reform its smoking cigarettes regulations that have been in place for the last 20 years and along with the help of student groups like cheap cigarettes Free Mountaineers the aim is to eventually make WVU a smoke cigarettes free campus.

In 1990, Vice President for Administration and Finance Herman Martins Jr. set the current smoking cigarettes policy for all buildings, vehicles, and properties owned by WVU, including the other branch schools. The rules said that there will be no smoking cigarettes inside every building and that the deans and department directions will be responsible for implementing the policies established.
Also established in the current smoking cigarettes policy was the smoking cigarettes policy implementation Task Force that would assist in the enforcement of the policy and make recommendations for new programs and guidelines.

The current Task Force, under the leadership of WVU associate provost, C.B. Wilson, has suggested that WVU make changes to the current policy.

The proposed ideas are not so much aimed at an immediate university-wide banning of smoking cigarettes but rather controlling the amount of smoke cigarettes that non-smokers are exposed by possibly creating cigarettes-free zones. Areas of concern are places like PRT stations, entryways to buildings, and highly trafficked walkways.

Making these areas smoke-free zones is more likely to be effective than a school wide ban.

Smoker and senior English major Ian Haye says that the likelihood of the school being able to enforce a campus ban of smoking cigarettes would be nearly impossible.

"I smoke cigarettes while walking to class but I would definitely quit smoking cigarettes on campus if they were handing out $50 tickets every time I lit up, but who is going to do that?"

He continued: "What about the rules now? There isn't supposed to be smoking cigarettes on PRT platforms but there is. There isn't supposed to be smoking cigarettes in the football stadium but there is. If rules aren't enforced now at a few locations how would they be enforced in a larger area?"

Smoker and sophomore physics major Scott Ferris, who attends meetings for the Students for Sensible Drug Policy, put into a play the idea that there was someone on campus to enforce the policy.

"That would mean that someone would have to spend 10 minutes to find the authoritative figure and bring them back, but by that time the smokers has finished the cigarette and is gone," said Ferris.
President of buy cigarettes Free Mountaineers, and graduate student, Brandon Beacom believes that enforcement is the key, but he thinks that enforcement such as ticketing could work if it were put in the smoking cigarettes policy.

"I have spoken with the Representative of Oklahoma State University," said Beacom. "We would try to follow their model of banning, policy education, and enforcement."

Beacom described the enforcement of OSU's ban as firstly passing out information after the ban to anyone seen smoking cigarettes on campus informing them of the policy. Then, after the Oklahoma Legislature passed legislation giving authorities the ability to ticket offenders, the campus police were able to fine smokers.

Beacom didn't know if the West Virginia Legislature would have to get involved so that the authoritative power to enforce the ban.

The task force has held meetings with members of the WVU community, student and faculty alike, so that concerns can be addressed about what reform policies should be implemented in the new smoking cigarettes policy but the forums have been marred by low attendance.

"I think that shows the attitude towards the subject," said Haye. "Apparently as a whole, there is a lack of awareness or concern about the smoking cigarettes policy."

The Health Sciences Center at WVU, which includes Ruby Memorial Hospital, has a complete ban on smoking cigarettes on its property for all visitors and faculty. Wilson has stated that the smoking cigarettes policies put in place at the Health Sciences campus have returned good feedback.

Abby Darnell works at the Health Sciences Center and she thinks it is a great thing that she doesn't have walk outside and smell smoke.

The success of the smoking cigarettes ban on the Health Sciences Center campus could mean that smokers have simply quit smoking cigarettes or that they have found another place to smoke.
"I know a lot of people get mad," said Darnell. "They go to their cars or over in front of the football stadium."

Besides smoking cigarettes in their cars, which is permitted, large parking lot separating Milan Puskar Stadium and Ruby Memorial is not part of the Health Science Center so smokers have found a nearby place to smoke cigarettes while not breaking the rules.

But what if smoking cigarettes was not permitted on any university property, including the football stadium parking lot? Would smokers who were fine with walking across the street to smoke cigarettes become upset that they would be forced to their cars?

That to Haye could be the key to success on a largely smoke cigarettes free WVU.

"Instead of putting emphasis on smoke-free zones, they could put emphasis on smoking cigarettes-designated areas," said Haye. "You could ban it in most places but have a few where it is allowed and people know what it is and if they don't want to smell it or get the effects of second-hand smoke cigarettes stay away from it. "

West Virginia has the highest smoking cigarettes population percentages in the country. With over a quarter of state residents smoking cigarettes cigarettes, is it possible to ban smoking cigarettes at flagship university of the state?

The only way to truly know if a smoking cigarettes ban is worth it, is to study the 300 other universities nation-wide that have already made the decision to ban smoking cigarettes on their campuses, and to see if it is applicable and enforceable to a university the size and identity of WVU.
Brandon Beacom has no doubt it can and will.

"I believe in a couple years West Virginia University will be a smoke cigarettes free campus." 

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