Revisiting the Effects of the University of Toledo’s Smoking Ban on Campus
October 14, 2015
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It has been a little over a year since the University of Toledo has gone tobacco free, with the ban yielding mixed results on student attitudes.
The ban includes not only cigarettes, but also chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, snus and cigars.
Many students agree with the ban, including Scott Tres, a first-year undecided student who grew up around smokers.
“I have always hated the smell of smoke,” Tres said. “My parents smoked and a lot of people at my high school did too. I think that it is great that UT has implemented the ban because in the long run it will only help the health of the students that go here.”
However, regardless of the ban, it is still not uncommon to see students smoking around campus.
“I think the ban is kind of stupid,” said Brandon Prece, a third-year business major. “In my opinion, I should be able to smoke since I am allowed to by law. I understood when they had the smoking huts, but completely banning it on a college campus seems a bit extreme to me.”
Prece said he also would not stop smoking on campus because the ban is not enforced.
Vicki Riddick, the director of Rocket Wellness, said the consequences of being found smoking on campus depends on who is being caught, but did not give any details as to what the consequences are.
“There is different protocol for students and a different protocol for faculty, staff and visitors,” Riddick said. “The appropriate level of discipline is put into place if it is being violated. It is part of the policy that all students need to follow.”
Due to the vagueness of the consequences of being caught smoking, Prece said he is not worried about getting in trouble or even being told to stop smoking while on campus.
“My friends and I all smoke on campus,” Prece said. “I do not know anyone who has actually gotten into trouble for smoking and I have also never been approached and told to stop smoking. I do think some students may have stopped smoking on campus due to all of the signs they have up, but I don’t think there is really any kind of disciplinary actions if you are caught smoking.”
However, some students who smoke have taken the ban into consideration and try their best to follow it.
“I respect UT’s decision to have the ban,” said Carly Phill, a third-year business major. “Whenever I do decide to smoke, I walk off campus to do it. I understand that nonsmokers should not have to be around smoke and I respect that.”
Phill said she has also cut down on the amount she smokes while she is on campus due to the ban.
“Sometimes I don’t have time to walk off campus,” she said. “I used to have a cigarette on my way between classes, but now with the ban I don’t do that. I don’t always have the time to walk off for a few minutes because I am already running to class.”
Riddick said having UT as a tobacco-free campus is the healthiest environment for students, but she understands how hard it is for students to quit using tobacco.
“We aren’t saying you have to quit immediately, but we are asking people to please not smoke while they are here,” Riddick said. “We try to give as much support throughout the transitional phases as possible.”
She said UT has been offering free classes for students to quit smoking as well as offering help from the Counseling Center, either one on one or through their tobacco hotline.
“Our goal is not to be punitive,” Riddick said. “We really want to help people quit smoking because it’s really one of the most modifiable risk factors to prevent so many diseases. When someone is 18-24 years old they may not be thinking about what kind of an effect it will have on their health in 20 years.”
Tres said he hopes the ban will make people realize just how bad smoking is.
“I think the ban is going to make people think more,” he said. “They will have to think about what they are doing even if they decide not to follow the ban because it will still be in the back of their minds. Hopefully they will realize that maybe smoking isn’t the healthiest thing to do.”
Riddick said it is everyone’s responsibility to keep campus smoke-free and to kindly ask smokers to put out their cigarettes while they are on campus.
“Knowing that for a college campus, it’s a difficult thing to ask. Really, it’s a cultural shift whereas healthier students come to campus, the access to healthier options is one of the things that as an institution we need to be providing to our students.”