On July 1st, 2017, the University of Akron banned all forms of tobacco from campus.
According to the CDC, “In 2015, about 15 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older currently smoked cigarettes.”
The decision to ban tobacco left numerous people on campus shocked. Many students have been expressing their opinions on the ban even to The University of Akron’s own President Wilson. He explains his personal encounters with students expressing their opinion to him about the ban.
President Wilson says, “The feedback I have received about the ban thus far has been quite positive. There have been many students, faculty, staff, who have been concerned by the effects of secondhand smoke, who have approached me with feelings of gratitude. I’ve had several folks, though, who are smokers who have expressed some concern still wanting to be able to smoke, use tobacco products on campus, but overall it’s been positive.”
According to the Ohio Department of Higher Education, “The number of campus smoking bans has increased nationally by more than 2,000% in the past ten years. There was a total of 34 colleges that had a ban implemented in 2006, and as of April 3rd, 2017, there were at least 1,827.”
President Wilson explains the reasoning behind The University of Akron’s decision to do this, and many services on campus that can help you fight the habit.
President Wilson says, “…I think one of the intentions underlying the shift to a tobacco-free campus really has been to promote health, to promote safety, to help out those students who may be using tobacco products, and so we actually have a program through our student health services that any student can avail themselves of that will help with tobacco cessation. Another thing that our student health services can do beyond that program is to prescribe certain aids, such as nicotine patches and the like to help folks out there as well, and on our website we have a list of resources that are offered by the county here that help out with tobacco cessation as well.”
President Wilson goes on to explain what the ban consists of, which includes e-cigarettes.
Wilson states, “Well, when we talk about [a] tobacco-free campus, chewing tobacco would be banned as well, really anything that emits smoke and whether that’s cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarette, you know anything of the like all of those products are banned.”
This decision affects multiple students on campus. The University of Akron currently has 25,000 students, so what are some of the thoughts from students about the ban?
Anna Custer says, “I think that it’s definitely a good improvement on campus because when you’re walking out of school, you don’t really want to smell that and everything. I think for some smokers it might be kind of a bad thing, but I think overall, it’s a good thing for the campus.”
Dean Villearreal responds, “I mean I think it’s good. Smoking was a little bit intrusive on this campus for the past few years. It’s honestly good to see it done away with. [It] smells bad.”
Another student says, “I definitely agree with it. I grew up in a household where my mom smoked a lot around me, and it would really just affect me, and then I would watch videos in high school about smoking and how it can like destroy your lungs ,and all that stuff, and I’m in band so I need my lungs.”
The ban goes by an honor system in which if you are caught smoking by someone on campus, they are supposed to ask you to stop. However, there are no serious repercussions if you are caught. Like it or dislike it, the smoking ban is here to stay, and it is unclear as of now how much this ban will change things on campus in the future.