No smoking, please: students respond to new tobacco policy

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By Ben Markley

The college officially declared itself a tobacco-free campus, as of Aug. 1st.
The smoking ban concept has been in the works for a few years, said Dana Grove, executive vice president of educational planning and development and chief operating officer.

Student Senate polled students about how they would react to a tobacco-free campus. Grove said the poll showed roughly two-thirds of those asked supported the ban. He said the majority of faculty and campus employees were also for the ban.
“We’re not saying it’s wrong or that it’s evil,” Grove said. “We’re just saying we want to ban it to have the healthiest and cleanest campus we can.”
Last spring, the Board of Trustees passed the smoking ban, which was put into effect Aug. 1st.
The smoking ban prohibits students from smoking anywhere on campus except for their own vehicles and designated smoking areas by ITC. The fine is $10 for students caught smoking outside of those areas.
A primary issue with the smoking ban has been awareness.
“I didn’t know there was [a ban],” said student Leta Singleterry.
Grove said the campus has been lenient on smoking offenses due to the recent induction of the policy.
“We’ve had to, mainly through the campus police, gently remind everyone of the ban,” Grove said.
A common complaint among smoking students is the lack of smoking areas.
“If they’re going to have one designated area, they should have a couple more around the campus,” said student James Colbert. “Some people just don’t have that much time between classes.”
Grove said that the main purpose for the ITC smoking huts is to benefit those who come to the college for the railroad program.
“People in that program come from all over,” Grove said. “They don’t have cars to smoke in.”
Student Ben Hargis, a smoker, said that a non-smoking friend of his constantly complained about the amount of smoking around campus the previous year.
“Personally, I understand people not wanting to breathe other people’s smoke,” Hargis said.
Student Sarah Bell said she thought the smoking ban was an improvement.
“It makes the campus look cleaner,” Bell said.
Grove said that he thinks that the campus has reacted well to the ban, despite its potential for dissent.
“I was kind of wary going into it,” Grove said, “but I’ve just been very pleased with everyone’s attitude.”

Contact Ben Markley, news editor, at bmarkle2@stumail.jccc.edu.

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