Debating HSU’s smoking policy


by Vita Romano
Flapjack Chronicle

On the HSU campus, smokers and non-smokers seem to live in relative harmony. Andrew Bronte, 21, an environmental science major and a resident on campus, said that he feels that the smoking policy is sufficient.

“95 percent of the time I see smokers in the designated smoking areas and only very rarely are they not,” Bronte says.

HSU has a smoking policy in place that was revised in 2005. This policy states that smoking should only take place within the designated smoking areas on campus.Under the rationale for the policy, “Widely published scientific data have demonstrated that smoking is harmful to the health of smokers. In addition, the Surgeon General reports that exposure to secondhand smoke can be a serious health hazard for nonsmokers.” There are 18 designated smoking areas on campus, most of them near the entrances to buildings and student housing.

Although Bronte is unperturbed by cigarette smoking, his girlfriend, Cheyenne Laeske, 19, a wildlife biology major who is a resident on campus as well, has a different opinion.

“I don’t think that the smoking policy around campus is sufficient enough,” Laeske said. “For example, my next door neighbor smokes right outside of her dorm. The smoke comes into my suite and stinks up the whole place, infiltrating our lungs with this toxic stuff.

Laeske said that she has asked CAs multiple times to do something about telling smokers to go to the designated smoking places.

“All that was done was a mild email asking residents to please smoke in proper, designated smoking areas,” Laeske said.

What do smokers say? Nick Beardsley, 21, a physics major and smoker said, “I feel it accommodates the cigarette smokers on campus very well.”

Many students who don’t smoke aren’t really sure why their fellow college students would pick up a cigarette with all of the knowledge about the damaging effects. Emma Lichtman, 21, a sociology and critical race and gender studies major and smoker, explains.

“From the perspective of being a student that smokes cigarettes I would want a non-smoker student to understand that just because we’re young, and in college, we do not smoke because we think we’re invincible or because it’s cool,” Lichtman said. “I’m sure that’s still the reason some do but I know peer pressure was how I began smoking and addiction is why I have not stopped. Almost every time I light a cigarette I think about how I lost my mother to cancer. I want other people to know that we’re not unhealthy, trying-to-be-cool kids. We’re just people too.”

In the University’s most recent on-campus smoking policy, they state that they will make information available to employees and students about the effects of smoking, second-hand smoke, and smoking cessation programs, mainly through the Employee Assistance Program, the Student Health Center, and Counseling & Psychological Services. The policy also states that it relies on, “…the consideration and cooperation of smokers and non-smokers for its success.”

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