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Dec. 6, 2012


Tobacco-free culture to begin on campus next fall


By Sarah Shannon

Starting next fall Cleveland State will become a tobacco-free campus.
One anonymous Viking, who goes by Heisenberg, has posted fliers filled with rants in regards to smoking on campus — mostly around the Music and Communication Building.

“I am not asking you to stop smoking, puff away!” it reads on one of the fliers. “Just don’t do it where I have the right to clean air. You have the right to smoke and I (along with other non-smokers) have a right to clean air.”

Based off a recommendation from the Ohio Board of Regents, Cleveland State is one of the first colleges in the state to come up with policy framework to implement the ban.

“We’re trying to create a culture of non-smoking,” said Joe Mosbrook, director of strategic communications. “Very similar to how restaurants and indoor facilities have created such a culture.”

The university has drafted a policy for the ban.

In the draft, the policy says, “The University seeks to set a model for a tobacco free workplace and promotion of healthy lifestyles now and in the future.”

The anti-tobacco policy bans anyone on campus from using tobacco of any kind. The ban includes all of campus and all of the university’s facilities including parking garages, lots and personal cars being used for university business.

A task group is also being created to develop the final policy that will include campus boundaries, how to file complaints, enforcement and disciplinary consequences.

The task group will include representatives from HR, Vike Health, facilities, Marketing, Student Life, Counseling, Health Services, Faculty Senate, Law Faculty, Faculty Affairs, Legal, the union, Student Government Association, Campus Services, Rec Center, IS&T, Residence Life and a handful of smokers from the university.

Mosbrook explained that it will be up to the department’s discretion if their representative will be a smoker or not.

The ban will have no effect on city streets, sidewalks, or public transportation stops.
No specific repercussions have been discussed. However, there will be no fines, tickets or arrests made by police for violations, Mosbrook assured.

Repeated violations will be treated like any other disciplinary problem on campus.

The university has not yet heard that many complaints from faculty or students. They expected to hear many.

Some are excited the university is making such changes.

“I feel like I’ll be able to breathe instead of coughing when I’m walking to class,” said Logan Justice, a non-smoking student. “I do think a lot of students are going to hate it, but more are going to like it.”

Some are finding this ban to be just the push they need toward a healthier lifestyle.
“I am an on and off smoker,” said Alden Morris. “I need an excuse to quit. Plus the university is promoting a healthy environment for students who don’t smoke.”

Not all students think that this ban is completely necessary or something that should be made such a priority by the university.

Tim Bowen, a non-smoking student, thinks that the ban will only be noticeable in certain areas, such as the courtyard, outside of the library, and in front of the dorms. Those who choose so will be allowed to smoke on their way to and from class, since they would technically be on public property using the sidewalks.

“CSU is growing,” said Bowen, “and although I understand their position in instituting a smoking ban, I feel that there are other issues that should be more immediately addressed. Issues like parking and finding incoming students appropriate housing are more important and pressing I think compared to someone lighting up a cig in between their classes.”

Bowen is not the only one who feels this way.

Morris, who is in favor of the smoking ban, agrees that Cleveland State has more important things they should be focusing on right now.

“We need to focus on the safety of students leaving and coming to campus and how student dollars are being spent.”

Sam Hayest, a non-smoking student, does not think the ban will be that effective.
“People will still do it,” he said. “It’s like having law against marijuana. It’s illegal but people do it anyways.”

The university is aware that this will not be an overnight process. They plan to implement the new policies through education programs, clear communication, marketing and proper planning.

Comparing their plan to those with similar plans in effect or in the beginning stages — Cleveland Clinic, Miami University and the University of Toledo — Cleveland State’s developing task group has a backbone for their plan rather than starting from scratch.