By Wyatt Boyer
HACC campuses and students will no longer carry the distinct odor of cigarette smoke. They will also no longer smell like the multitude of exotic flavors used in e-cigarettes. Two weeks ago HACC announced their plan to ban all tobacco products and e-cigarettes by August 10, 2015. Student reaction to the ban has been mixed. Regardless, HACC is determined to rid tobacco and e-cigarettes from all 5 of their campuses.
The ban is being passed under policy 375- HACC’s Tobacco-Free Campuses Initiative. It aims to provide healthy campuses and better prepare the student body to enter the workforce.
Chairman of the HACC Board of Trustees Timothy L. Sandoe said “Not only are we providing a healthy campus culture and sustainable environment, a tobacco-free campus better prepares our students to enter the workforce where many employers do not permit tobacco use.”
HACC plans to fully implement this policy by August 10, 2015. Before this occurs, they plan to implement a few other changes to help current smokers. HACC’s ‘Tobacco-Free FAQ’ states “HACC’s bookstores will be carrying and selling smoking cessation products prior to Aug. 10, 2015. Additionally, free smoking cessation programs will be available at all campuses during the spring 2015 term for students, employees, and members of the community.”
People are curious how HACC will be enforcing this ban. The current rule where a smoker must be 25 feet away from a building hasn’t been working.
“Most places require you to stand 25 feet or so from a building to smoke, but the problem is no one ever listens to these kind of rules. I constantly see throngs of people smoking right outside the entrance of a building where smoke is being blown right into you. It upsets people and could be a health detriment” says Alex Neason, a psychology student at HACC’s Harrisburg campus.
The college has some new policies that will assist in cementing this ban on the campuses. “Security officers, during the performance of their regular duties, will enforce this policy if it is being violated” the FAQ states.
Student reaction on the policy may vary but many students feel like they did not have a say in the decision. “It was handed down by the president. It wasn’t a question of the faculty or student body, it was just passed” says Dash Glace, a General Studies student.
However, HACC claims student were invited to be a part of the process multiple times. According to HACC, “students at the various campuses were extended invitations to participate…none of the invitations were accepted.”
Student response following the decision was also lacking. A protest was scheduled following the decision. Only one person was seen in attendance.
The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation reports that there are now at least 1,543 smoke-free campuses in the U.S. today. It’s becoming an increasingly common practice to enact these policies in schools and workplaces across the nation. Not only this, the average price of a pack of cigarettes continues to rise as well. It certainly seems smoking is becoming more and more discouraged no matter where you go.
Whether this policy will achieve its goal or not is yet to be seen. College is a stressful time in one’s life, and this draws a lot of students towards picking up the habit.
“What am I supposed to do when people stress me out?” asks Danny Eversmeyer, a communications student.
Smoking is becoming less common in the United States each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that only 5% of adults smoked in 2012. Compare that to the mid-1990s where 18% of the population smoked or 1965, where the number was at a staggering 42%. Many institutions simply don’t want to condone smoking any longer.
Should we be limiting what people are allowed to put in their bodies? Some argue that it’s their decision to make.
“Cigarette smoking is a right. Any man has the right to do as he pleases, even if it harms them” claims Taylor Shoemaker, HACC student.
Despite anyone’s opinion, this ban will be enforced by mid-August. Only time will tell how this ends up affecting the campuses and student body. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the Organizational Transformation at hacc.edu.