Commitment to cut carcinogens is everyone’s resposibility

When we became a tobacco-free campus in August, it was understood that change would be required. Having observed the policy in action, the perceived enforcement inaction was initially troubled.

While all ashtrays have been removed from the campus, some trashcans still have mini ashtrays in their tops. People can still be seen smoking near the trashcans outside the Communications Center, in plain sight of the “breathe easy” sign. Seeing people smoking in the campus parking lots has also become commonplace.

Change we can all believe in

This was disheartening; because when your campus advertises itself as “tobacco-free,” certain standards are expected. How is this policy being enforced?

Some thought that the only ones required to make changes would be campus security and those who smoked. One group catches offenders, and the other group complies with the tobacco-free policy.

What we need to understand is that the tobacco-free policy requires not just security and smokers to make changes, but all of us.

Smoking cessation stories

Chris Leland, Wellness Center director, shared an experience that he observed on campus since the tobacco ban. He saw a young man smoking on the campus mall. Before he could say anything, Leland stayed back and watched as a group of young women approached the smoker. They asked him if he knew that Rose State was a tobacco-free campus. They then told him to put out his cigarette. “I was so proud,” Leland said.

We’ve been an alcohol-free campus for so long, that no one thinks it’s acceptable to tap a keg in the campus mall. It’ll be the same with the tobacco-free policy. Everyone just needs time to adjust.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

It’s selfish for non-smokers to think they had no responsibilities regarding the tobacco-free policy. Everyone needs to do their part to honor our campus’ commitment to cutting carcinogens.

Don’t be belligerent, but if you do see someone smoking on campus, remind him or her of the tobacco-free policy.

For three consecutive years the Student Senate petitioned for our campus to become tobacco-free. Now that we are, it’s each of our responsibilities to ensure that we, as a school, are honoring our commitment.

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