By Idris Caldwell
Photo Credit: Hezekiyah Luster
According to Americans for Non-smokers’ Rights, between January of 2011 and January of 2012, the number of United States colleges and universities with total smoking bans rose from 466 to 648. Cumberland County College’s smoking policy states: “Smoking is not permitted in any building on campus or within 25 feet of building entrances,” per the student handbook. “Disciplinary sanctions can be imposed on students who violate this college regulation.”
However, any student, smoker or non-smoker, can observe the multiple ashtrays that are within 25 feet of several buildings such as the library and the academic building. These ashtrays may entice some students to smoke close to these buildings since there are ashtrays so close to them.
Are students supposed to guesstimate how far 25 feet actually is? Furthermore, there aren’t any designated smoking areas on CCC’s campus, so how can one truly tell where it is okay to smoke?
Lately, there have been talks about a ban on smoking on campus. When asked if she would like to see a ban on smoking at CCC, Anna Donnelly said, “Absolutely not! No! We pay for classes, so we should have the right to smoke on campus.” However, she wouldn’t be opposed to a compromise on the issue,“We should have designated smoking areas.”
CCC professor Jan Hanselman allowed her Social Welfare students to discuss the issue; many had strong opinions on the potential ban. Shana Loatman, a smoker, said, “I wouldn’t be biased to it. I am a smoker…but I don’t smoke around my grandmother or children. However, I do feel like I have the right to smoke when I want to.” Tiffany Vederose, fellow smoker, shared similar views on the issue, “I have the right to smoke. It’s my choice and my decision. It’s discrimination if they ban smoking.”
Health issues were also a major point of discussion. Second hand smoke has been proven harmful. Is it fair that others who don’t smoke have to be affected by the toxic fumes smokers leave behind?
Melissa Patterson, a CCC student shared, “I have asthma. I don’t choose to have asthma, but they do choose to smoke. I shouldn’t have to breath it in.” Kristen Webb agreed with Patterson, stating, “I think it’s more important that there is a ban or designated areas [clearly marked] away from the [building] doors.”
When the class was asked how they would vote on a potential ban, it was split 50/50. Half, of those who voted, wanted to see a ban on smoking on campus. The other half would vote against a ban. However, most of the class would want to see a compromise put in place rather than a complete ban.
Joe Hibbs, CCC’s director of campus life and student services, said that changes would possibly be made to the current smoking policy in the near future.
CCC’s student body had the chance to voice their opinion by filling out an online survey. Joe Hibbs, the Director of Campus Life & Student Services, shared that changes would most likely be made to the current smoking policy and that the committee that oversees the issue should have a recommendation to the CCC president by the New Year. The survey results will be considered when developing the possible changes to the current smoking policy.
Compromise seems to be a popular resolution. There’s no doubt that smoking cigarettes is harmful for you and studies show that second-hand smoke is more detrimental than smoking cigarettes. But people do have the right to smoke, just as non-smokers have the right not to smoke. You can visit CCC’s website, http://www.cccnj.edu, for further updates in 2013.