Loyola’s task force to become a smoke-free campus could be implemented by 2015
A student smokes a cigarette on Loyola’s campus. A recent initiative might result in a complete ban of tobacco products on campus. If approved, this change could occur as soon as 2015. ZACH BRIEN/Photo Editor
Students on Loyola's campus might not have the privilege of lighting up a cigarette between classes for much longer.
College campuses across the United States are adopting smoke-free policies in order to eliminate the dangers of smoking throughout indoor and out- door areas, and Loyola is on its way to following this trend.
Loyola's Administrative Senate and Board of Trustees will soon decide whether or not smoking on campus will be banned completely or if fines will start to be given out to smokers.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Robert Reed said that Loyola's mission is to become a smoke-free campus by next year.
"I would like to get a proposal approved by University President, Rev. Kevin Wildes, before this date so the task force will be implemented by January 2015," Reed said.
Allison Cormier, a former Senator of Student Government Association, was in charge of the smoking task force at Loyola. She said her approach was to
follow the example of other universities that already use enforcement methods. "St. Louis University had a huge problem with smoking on campus, but once smokers were reprimanded for smoking in undesignated smoking areas, then as time went on and more enforcement was used by university officials, the policy was effective," Cormier said.
Tulane University has already designated smoke-free zones on its campus, but these rules will soon be tightened.
According to Tulane's smoke-free task force shown on their website, Tulane is joining schools and universities across the nation in taking a stand against tobacco use and nicotine dependence by implementing a 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy for all university-owned properties.
Starting on Aug. 1, 2014, smoking and the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaporizers, will be prohibited on all Tulane University property, either owned or leased.
The Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., said that in conjunction with the 33rd Great American Smokeout, Loyola has launched a campaign to make its cam- pus smoke-free. One of the steps toward making this change, he said, is to adhere to the current rules of on-cam- pus smoking zones.
"I want students to be aware of the designated smoking areas all across campus," Wildes said. "The main campus has six smoking areas and the Broadway campus has four. Each is in an accessible location, which is distanced in compliance with federal standards of at least 25 feet from entrances and high traffic walkways. These smoking areas, together with clearly marked restrictions around the entrance and exit ways to buildings, will allow those who choose to smoke to do so while protecting the health of nonsmokers."
According to the Americans for NonSmokers' Rights, as of Jan. 2, 2014, at least 1,182 colleges or university campuses in the U.S. have adopted 100 percent smoke-free campus policies that eliminate smoking in indoor and outdoor areas across the entire cam- pus, including residence buildings.
International business senior Lea Niglio-Parein said that the smoking culture at Loyola is too prevalent, so she does not see both students and faculty being able to approve this smoke-free mission. "This task force will never work
at Loyola because everyone smokes here; even the staff," she said.
Reed said that all public schools in the state of Louisiana are required by law to go smoke-free by fall 2015. He said that, knowing the dangers that come with smoking, Loyola University should follow that example.
Dong-Chul Seo, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health, confirmed in a study that smoking bans on university campuses help to reduce smoking in this age group.
"Although we haven't pinpointed which element of the campus-wide smoke-free air policy contributed the most to the positive changes in students' smoking rates, having such a pol- icy in place does appear to influence students' smoking-related norms and behaviors even without strong enforcement of the policy," Seo said.
Reed said that the policy would have to be approved by SGA or students, University Senate and finally by Father Wildes. Therefore this proposal is not definite until these steps are made.
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