STAFF EDITORIAL | Smoking restriction begs questions

Previously allowed to smoke throughout campus, Butler students will now be confined to 12 specific smoking “areas.”

We at The Butler Collegian feel this is an improvement from our current smoking policy, but while we applaud the efforts, we wonder how well-enforced this policy will be and if it will really be that effective.

The previous rules stated that students were not permitted to smoke within 30 feet of buildings. Students will now no longer be allowed to walk and smoke while traveling to and from classes.

Butler is not the first university to implement programs such as this. IUPUI has a smoke-free campus. Indiana University also supports the initiative to end smoking on campus and have done so since Jan. 1, 2008.

In this regard, it seems that Butler is behind when compared to other Indiana universities.
Indiana University “believes it has an obligation to exercise leadership by promoting a healthy, smoke-free environment for its students, employees and visitors,” according to iub.edu.

We think that the new smoking policy is a positive step toward creating this environment on our own campus, but we are wary as to how effectively this policy will be enforced.

Although the  current policy dictates that students must remain 30 feet from all buildings while smoking, we’ve never seen much enforcement when students are smoking five feet from the entrance of a building.

The ashtrays attached to trash cans across campus also encourage smoking. Even if a smoker were 30 feet from any building to begin with, they would have to break that barrier simply to put their cigarette out without littering.

Perhaps a lack of accessible ashtrays, within the newly designated smoking zones, will diminish the amount of students who smoke on their way to class.By having designated smoking areas around campus, this cuts out people smoking on their way to class entirely.

Additionally, this cuts down on second hand smoke around campus and the negative effects that come with it.  People who have asthmatic problems are affected by second hand smoke every day. If the plan is properly enforced, those individuals will no longer have that problem on the way to class.

The amount of litter on campus will be cutback as well.  Currently, since people are allowed to smoke while walking on campus, there are cigarette butts thrown carelessly on sidewalks and in the landscape.  By containing smokers to one of the designated areas, the trash created from smoking will be left in that spot and not strewn about campus.

We at The Butler Collegian are very supportive of the University’s new smoking policy.  We feel that it is time for Butler to properly address this problem and catch up with other area universities.  However, the new policy will mean nothing unless it is properly enforced.  We would like to see actual penalties for those who break the policy, such as a fine, as opposed to a slap on the wrist.

Once this occurs, Butler will be taking proper action on this issue.  At that point, we will finally be making real progress towards a healthier, more enjoyable, smoke-free campus.

We feel that the benefits that come from a smoke-free campus favor everyone.

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